https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... by-u-s-faaFAA to Review Boeing Employee Reports of Pressure Over Safety Issues
Regulator faults aerospace giant after surveyed employees reported interference and transparency issues on safety matters
updated Aug. 23, 2021 11:49 pm ET
The Federal Aviation Administration is launching a broad review
of how Boeing Co. employees handle safety matters on the agency’s behalf
after some company engineers said they face undue pressure,
according to an agency letter and people familiar with the matter.
An FAA survey conducted this year found 35% of a small sample of certain Boeing employees
reported problems including pressure and hurdles to transparency,
according to an Aug. 19 2021 agency letter to Boeing.
Some surveyed employees, who are part of a group empowered by the agency to assist its work,
said they encountered difficulties in being transparent with regulators,
according to the letter, which was viewed by The Wall Street Journal.
U.S. aviation regulators have long relied on aerospace-company employees to act on their behalf for performing certain tasks,
such as signing off on certain safety assessments or approving aircraft for delivery.
The problems cited by Boeing employees in the survey “indicate the environment does not support independence”
of those who are empowered to act on the agency’s behalf, according to the letter,
which was signed by Ian Won,
acting manager of the FAA’s Boeing oversight office in the Seattle area.
A Boeing spokeswoman said the company takes “these matters with the utmost seriousness”
and is working to bolster the independence of its employees who work on the FAA’s behalf.
24 augustus 2021 06:52 CEST
Boeing Employees’ Safety Independence Under Scrutiny by U.S. FAA
U.S. aviation regulators are opening a new review of Boeing Co. after a survey of company engineers found a sizable percentage said they couldn’t raise safety concerns without interference.
A survey conducted by the Federal Aviation Administration from May through July 2021 found that 35% of Boeing employees
raised issues of conflicts of interest and a lack of independence,
according to an Aug. 19 letter from the head of the agency division overseeing the company.
The FAA action is the latest to look at Boeing’s safety practices following twin fatal crashes of the company’s 737 Max.
The accidents, tied to a poorly designed flight-control system,
led the plane to be grounded for 20 months and prompted multiple investigations.
“Boeing’s company culture appears to hamper members of the ODA unit from communicating openly with the FAA,”
said the letter, which was obtained by Bloomberg.
ODA refers to Organization Designation Authorization,
the group within Boeing that is authorized to make safety decisions
on behalf of the government and is supposed to remain independent.
“These concerns require an objective review and further fact finding,” said the letter,
signed by Ian Won, the acting head of the FAA office that monitors Boeing.
It wasn’t clear how many people were interviewed
or how representative it is of the hundreds of Boeing employees who work on behalf of the FAA.
One Boeing employee interviewed by the FAA said other engineers at the company tried to apply pressure.
“Yea, that happens all the time from design engineering.
They don’t listen and keep pushing,” the unidentified person said in comments that were included in the letter.