TSB reassesses outstanding safety recommendations to assess progress and promote accountability

News release

Gatineau, Quebec, 3 June 2020 —The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) released its annual reassessment of responses to 71 of its outstanding safety recommendations. These reassessments show some progress with 13 receiving the highest rating of “fully satisfactory”: 10 in aviation and three in rail. However, the marine sector has seen limited movement, with over 50% of the ratings remaining unchanged.

The TSB issues safety recommendations as a call to industry and regulators to address systemic problems that pose a serious safety risk to Canada’s transportation system. Each year, the TSB reassesses outstanding recommendations as part of its ongoing efforts to urge stakeholders to take action on the safety issues identified in investigations.

In Aviation, the responses to a number of recommendations issued as part of the investigation into the 1998 Swissair in-flight fire and collision with water (A98H0003) were closed as fully satisfactory, after being active for over 15 years. These recommendations addressed standards and testing requirements for thermal acoustic insulation materials, the recording capacity and power supply for cockpit voice recorders, and in-flight firefighting standards. Additionally, more recent recommendations issued in 2016, in response to a controlled flight into terrain of a Sikorsky S-76A helicopter (A13H0001), were also closed as fully satisfactory. These recommendations touched on issues around emergency locator transmitters, crash survivability and first-burst delay specifications.

Canada's rail sector also saw some progress, with responses to three recommendations rated as fully satisfactory. The Board looks forward to the introduction of voice and video recorders in locomotive cabs. However, the Board remains concerned about the slow progress addressing the need for additional backup safety defences to help ensure that signal indications are consistently recognized and followed. Recommendation R00-04 has been outstanding for almost 20 years and is tied to the Watchlist issue of following railway signal indications.

In the marine sector, none of the 20 recommendations that have been reassessed were rated as fully satisfactory. Ten recommendations received a “satisfactory intent” rating, indicating that the planned action, when fully implemented, will substantially reduce or eliminate the safety deficiency. However, for the present, the action has not been sufficiently advanced to reduce the risks to transportation safety. More than half of these outstanding recommendations are related to Commercial fishing safety, which has been on the Watchlist since 2010. The TSB will continue to call for action until there are sufficient indications that a sound safety culture has taken root throughout the commercial fishing industry and in fishing communities across the country.

“While the Board is encouraged by the progress made, we will carefully examine the persistent and longstanding safety deficiencies that support these active recommendations as we prepare to issue Watchlist 2020 in the fall,” cautions Kathy Fox, Chair of the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates aviation, marine, pipeline and railway transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

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For more information:
Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Media Relations

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