Avionics News March 2018 - 66

series
B Y

T H O M A S

Risk Table
E
ach fall, I have the pleasure of teaching a human factors course at the Pennsylvania College of Technology. We start with historical case studies to illustrate
the need for a human factors program. The students learn the
dirty dozen. They spend a month examining themselves and
how their lifestyle affects their performance. On a weekly basis,
the students will be surprised how psychology, physiology and
biology apply to error reduction and management. We delve into
communication theory. We look at the history of error reduction
strategies. Along the way, we take a close look at the safety management systems in which they are likely to be involved.
Within our examination of SMS, we examine the Risk

I N M A N

Probability and Severity Table recommended by the Federal
Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety
Agency. The left column of the matrix lists the probability of
a risk factor. At the top is frequent, or something that happens
often. At the bottom is extremely improbable, or something
that happens so rarely, some may consider it nearly impossible.
The table numbers the probabilities from 5 for frequent to 1 for
extremely improbable.
In May 2017, the FAA published Order 8040.4B, Safety Risk
Management Policy. The order supports FAA Order 8000.369,
Safety Management System, and establishes requirements for
how to conduct safety risk management. It formalizes SRM
guidance for FAA lines of business and staff offices,
and it describes specific steps when performing and
Risk Severity
Risk
documenting SRM. Order 8040.4B gives specific
Probability
definitions for each likelihood in the left column.
Catastrophic A Hazardous B
Major C
Minor D Negligible E
According to 8040.4B, a frequent event can
be expected to occur routinely or quantitatively
speaking, something that is expected more than
Frequent 5 5A
5B
5C
5D
5E
10 times per month. Probable is defined as often,
or one to 10 times a month. Remote is defined
Occasional 4 4A
4B
4C
4D
4E
as infrequently, or once a month to once a year.
Extremely remote is defined as occurring rarely, or
once a decade. Extremely improbable is defined as
Remote 3
3A
3B
3C
3D
3E
unlikely to occur, but not impossible, and can be
expected to occur less than once per decade.
Improbable 2 2A
2B
2C
2D
2E
From left to right, the top row lists risk severity.
On the left is catastrophic, which would be
considered a disaster where multiple lives are lost.
Extremely 1A
1B
1C
1D
1E
Farthest to the right is negligible, which may be
Improbable 1
something as mundane as bumping your medial
epicondyle, or funny bone, as you sit down at the
workbench. On the table, each severity level is
Risk Assessment Table from the International Civil Aviation Organization
lettered, from A (catastrophic) to E (negligible).
66

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Avionics News March 2018

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