There are many fields where you need maintenance service throughout the day and night and maintenance on aircraft is one of them. Aircraft maintenance shifts are an important part of commercial aircraft processes. A number of larger aviation companies may run two shifts daily, whereas commercial airline operations that experience a lot of flights and activities may run three shifts daily.
Aircraft maintenance procedures are usually divided into comprehensive practical phases that involve assignments being accomplished in a specific order. Often, one or two assignments may take longer than a single shift to be accomplished. Similarly, the number of complex assignments to be accomplished is dependent on the kind of maintenance or level of task being performed.
Certain aircraft maintenance processes might be carried out for days or even weeks and encompass a number of individual assignments while some assignments may require the input of several team members to be completed. In these types of situations, work must be passed on from one shift to the next.
Shift turnover refers to a responsible and systematic process where responsibilities, task information and many other details need to be communicated from an outgoing team to an incoming team.
An effective shift turnover is very important for aircraft maintenance as it not only reduces the risk of errors but also provides safety to flight operations and the maintenance technicians.
However, an effective shift turnover is not as simple as it sounds. Adherence to teamwork, policies, planning guidelines, procedures and communication practices are all very much required.
An effective shift turnover procedure depends upon several important elements that must be considered.
There are a number of issues that can make shift turnovers ineffective. Some of those problems are:
Generally, it is found that the outgoing technicians can often be tired and they focus on departing tactically instead of giving importance to the proper exchanging of the information.
It is one of the biggest problems in a shift turnover process. Technicians belonging to the outgoing team cannot deliver the information properly and therefore, it becomes difficult to utilize an effective shift turnover process.
Along with these, personnel conflicts, distractions, cultural prejudices, and false assumptions are other problems that can make the shift turnover process ineffective.
Irrespective of the number of Aircraft Maintenance Technicians on a team, it is usually the individual responsibility of the Aircraft Maintenance Technician working on a specific aircraft or section to fill in the next shift on the detailed information needed to be communicated. Implementation of the following items can assist in maintaining a smooth shift transition.
In order to make the shift turnover process effective, standard policies and procedures must be created. A team should be established that can develop as well as implement these policies. All communication formats (both written and oral) should have standardized quality and the use of lists, reports and other suitable forms must be enforced to ensure that the documentation for shift turnover is consistent.
The time intersection between shifts must be appropriate to allow for turnover discussions to be held. The technicians should not feel rushed to ensure the information is presented properly. Information passed during the turnover process should be uniform to ensure a smooth transition.
A clean, as well as comfortable place, which is devoid of any kind of distractions, is required where technicians can exchange information. The technicians should have access to computers and other required data sources as necessary to implement an effective shift turnover.
There should be communication exercises for technicians during their training to ensure that proper communication is practiced as much as possible to develop communication skills among the technicians.
Preliminary and frequent training on carrying out an effective shift turnover process should be made available to the technicians involved. This will allow for the crucial aspects of a shift turnover process to be practiced and discussed, ensuring that the technicians are aware of their influence on enhancing the safety of lives and property.
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