Foreign Object Debris (FOD) is one the largest problems in the aviation arena. FOD is considered to be any object, debris, loose item, aviation tools or wildlife that can potentially cause damage to an aircraft or personnel. Preventing FOD is essential in order to ensure overall safety and proper functionality of an aircraft. Costs of FOD consequences can also put a large dent in your pocket, therefore it is crucial to develop a program and stick to it to ensure FOD is being prevented.
FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN DEVELOPING A FOD PREVENTION PROGRAM
When creating a FOD prevention program for your business, a clear and precise policy should be developed. Key factors that should be included in your policy should include:
Your FOD prevention program should begin with asking “How does FOD affect safety, quality and costs? Is it interfering with customer satisfaction? How can we prevent FOD from affecting these factors?” After asking yourself and your company these questions, it’s important to identify if these are all problems and address them in your objective.
After figuring out what needs to be worked on, a vision should be created, almost like a blueprint, to help map out what needs to be done and who is going to be in charge of what.
One of the most important parts to a successful program is creating goals and benchmarks for your company to achieve. Goals can easily be established based on the answers to the questions you asked in your programs objective.
The progress of your FOD prevention plan should be tracked frequently. This will ensure your procedures are being implemented and that FOD is indeed being prevented to the best of your company’s ability.
Any program needs organization in order to function properly. A plan needs to be orchestrated in order to determine who will manage what and who will work as a support role.
Clear procedures for preventing FOD should be developed. Procedures should consists of continuous processes that will address problems long-term.
WHERE TO LOOK FOR ASSISTANCE
Two great places to look to for assistance with creating a FOD prevention program are the Aerospace Industries Association’s website which has The National Aerospace Standard 412 and the FAA website which has an article about the hazards of debris at airports. Both of these resources were developed with help from the National Aerospace FOD Prevention Inc. and are a great resource for providing information on the industries regulations and expectations of a FOD prevention program.
OTHER IMPORTANT FACTORS
ESTABLISH A POINT OF CONTACT
This is crucial in order to successfully operate and run a FOD prevention program. The point of contact will be responsible for developing, implementing and monitoring the programs plans. Feedback and incidents should be reported to the point of contact in order to be able to track progress and collect data. Point of contacts can be anyone, whether it be someone working in management or an aviation technician working in the lab. It’s important to ensure that your choice for the point of contact is dedicated and capable of performing these duties.
FORM A COMMITTEE
Forming a committee when developing a FOD prevention program can be very beneficial. FOD committees should assign individuals to specific roles e.g., head of safety, head of engineering, etc. By dividing your program into each individual area, with a point of contact for each division, you will easily be able to see what needs to be done, what has been done and how to successfully maintain FOD prevention.
CONTINUE AWARENESS AND EDUCATION
This factor is one of the most important. It is critical that all personnel are aware and educated of FOD and FOD prevention. Every program is required to have a documented and validated training process to ensure all personnel are educated on FOD and the severe consequences FOD can cause. Notably, it is important to encourage your personnel to continually educate and update themselves on FOD. Training is available for many different areas and can be done repeatedly. Some ways to keep your company aware of FOD are to make announcements and have discussions during meeting, create incentive programs to award personnel for making an effort to educate themselves and prevent FOD and to write weekly/monthly FOD articles to publish in your company newsletter.