Many airlines and airports have learned from the past and modify their forms based on information that they consistently wish they had whenever reported issues enter their risk management framework. Other safety teams will review reporting forms from other sources, such as:
- Online aviation SMS software
- Civil aviation authorities' reporting forms
- Hazard reporting form templates
Regardless of the source, reviewing the reporting forms from other companies offers many benefits.
Benefits of Hazard Report Form Templates
Using the work of others as a starting point for either creating new reporting forms or modifying your existing reporting forms offers many advantages. Perhaps the biggest benefit is the time saved for reworking your report forms or creating report forms from scratch. Using reporting form templates will save at least 50% on labor costs and up to 75% on development costs.
If you have ever been in a design meeting for company forms, you will realize the time it takes to explain the importance of every data field AND the order of each field in the reporting form. Hazard report form templates come from teams who have already spent hours designing and re-designing forms. If you are using a template as inspiration for your reporting forms, then you can be assured that most templates or sources have gone through many iterations. There is generally no need to re-create the wheel for aviation safety hazard report forms. Use the templates!
Best Practices for Hazard Reporting Forms
We can provide feedback because not only have we created many hazard reporting forms, but we have also used them. We know what works. We also use hazard report form templates when creating SMS Pro's hazard reporting software. We started from one of the best sources: NASA. Most aviation safety professionals are familiar with NASA's ASRS (Aviation Safety Reporting System). SMS Pro's first version was based on NASA's ASRS in 2007. In 2015, SMS Pro's offline hazard reporting tools used the updated NASA ASRS reporting forms as templates.
While NASA ASRS reporting forms are great templates, I believe they are a bit too long. They capture the most important information, but from an end-user's perspective, they may seem intimidating.
With this in mind, when you create your hazard reporting form, consider these guidelines:
Consider your objectives (complying with regulatory requirements?);
- Consider your audience (education level, tolerance for long forms, time);
- Keep forms as short as possible;
- Use white-space to make the forms more readable;
- Only ask for most important information (usually you can ask for more information later)
If your civil aviation authority has required information that you must submit, then these items should be considered. Some of the worst hazard reporting forms come from CAA templates. Government agencies tend to over-complicate the hazard reporting process, thereby retarding hazard reporting cultures. In most cases, don't use reporting form templates from CAAs.