The background of the BARS Program
Many organizations rely on the use of aviation to support their activities including the movement of company personnel. The aircraft operators used for these services range from those that provide dedicated contract support, occasional charter or regular passenger transport services. The aircraft used for these services range from small single-engine helicopters to transport category jet aircraft.
The BAR Standard was developed to meet an identified need to establish a common global aviation safety assessment and audit protocol.
It is a risk-based model framed against the actual threats posed to aviation operations, particularly those that occur within challenging and remote environments. It directly links these threats to associated controls, recovery and mitigation measures as opposed to outdated and prescriptive formats previously used within a number of industry sectors.
Whilst the program was originally developed to meet the needs of the mining and resources sector, it is also used by other organizations that use aviation to support their activities. These include government and humanitarian and other aid agencies.
The items reviewed during a BARS Audit are referenced and mapped to various sources such as the ICAO Annexes, the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations and other authoritative material making it applicable to a broad category of aircraft operations.
Together with additional risk assessment tools, training and data analysis, the BARS Program is a complete package to assist organizations with the management of their aviation risk and provides users of aviation support with the level of safety assurance required by their respective organizations.
To further advance global aviation safety for contracted operators and based on stakeholder feedback and repeat findings, we have updated the the BARS Program. The Program now offers two auditing streams – Core Registration and Comprehensive Registration. The Comprehensive Registration stream provides a higher level of recognition to aircraft operators selecting this auditing stream.
- One common standard tailored to contract aviation environment: The criteria used under the BAR Standard to assess aircraft operators represents best industry practice. It has been developed by the sectors of the industry, drawing on the collective experience of numerous companies, including some of the major global resources companies.
- A better audit: The BARS audit process is more robust, non-subjective and utilizes two auditors for two days.
- The quality of the auditors: The auditors must undergo a training course and meet stringent accreditation, minimum knowledge and experience criteria.
- Independent and impartial: This is the first independent, quality-controlled audit process for the resource sector. Neither resource companies nor aircraft operators can influence the outcome of audits.
- Prior to the BAR Standard, each resource company had its own aviation safety standard. This subjected aircraft operators to a diverse and often ambiguous set of requirements within already diverse global regulatory requirements.
- The variety of standards and audits meant that aircraft operators underwent multiple annual audits for various resource company clients, diverting their focus and resources away from flight operations and maintenance oversight.
- The ability of an individual resource company to influence change within an aircraft operator’s practices in response to audit findings was often limited.
- Industry based safety auditing is unregulated, is not in accordance with a consistent standard and has limited scope for one company to influence consistency and quality control.
- There was no formal process by which safety audit results, accident data or safety findings could be shared between companies or across the resource industry.
- The Foundation has extensive aviation safety experience and expertise. Its mission, “the continuous improvement of aviation safety and the prevention of accidents” is aligned with that of the resource sector.
- Because the Foundation is independent, impartial and not-for-profit, resource sector companies can draw upon its expertise and gain the benefits of a collaborative approach while maintaining the appropriate commercial distance from each other.
- Yes. A relevant example of a successful industry-wide program is the Foundation’s Approach and Landing Accident Reduction (ALAR) campaign.
- The Foundation established a task force on approach and landing accidents in 1998. Its research showed there were an average of 17 fatal approach and landing accidents annually from 1980 through 1998 in passenger and cargo operations involving aircraft weighing 5,700kg/12,500lb or more.
- The Foundation developed numerous safety products, including distribution of 40,000 copies of the ALAR Tool Kit, and conducted workshops on the subject across the world.
- Many of the ground-breaking tools and practices provided by the ALAR Tool Kit have been adopted by the majority of commercial airlines around the world and are key elements of their flight operations manuals.
- This work has significantly reduced the risk of this type of accident in commercial aviation operations.
- Aviation poses one of the single largest potential risks to safety in the sector and one of the few activities that has the potential for double digit-fatalities.
- Indications are that reliance on aviation in the sector is increasing as exploration pushes further afield to more remote areas, and “fly in/fly out” activities becomes more frequent.
- The increased focus by resource companies on aviation safety over recent years means the opportunity for further improvements at the individual company level are small compared to the unprecedented scope for improvement at an industry level through the sector-wide initiative that the BAR Standard provides.
- The Program developed from informal discussions between representatives from resource companies and the Foundation. When it was realized that the industry and the Foundation were exploring the same issues, the idea to launch a collaborative effort was formalized and the BARS Program Office was formed to manage the Program.
- The twelve founding BARS Member Organizations worked with FSF over twelve months to develop the Program.
- The BARS Program is funded by annual subscription fees paid by participating BARS Member Organizations, by audit company registration fees, by training course fees paid by auditors and resource sector aviation coordinators, and by audit fees paid by aircraft operators.
- The BAR Standard is intended to supplement the guidance and requirements of national and international regulations pertaining to aviation operations. These must always be followed.
- The prescriptive standards are categorized under the components that make up an aviation system, such as equipment, personnel, operations, etc.
- The BARS Program is framed around the actual threats to aviation operations and directly links these to associated controls and recovery/mitigation measures.
- It provides a ready-made framework for assessing risk.
- No. Prescriptive standards were often aspirational and presented as an ideal scenario not based on reality.
- The BAR Standard is intended to provide a basic safety standard to be met 100% of the time, lowering residual risk to minimal levels.
- FSF controls the BAR Standard based on the advice and approval of the TAC.
- The TAC, which is comprised of and chaired by BARS Member Organizations, must approve any change to the BAR Standard.
- The BAR Standard was developed by FSF in collaboration with resource industry input from the founding BARS Member Organizations.
- It was developed drawing on world’s best practice in aviation safety generally and from the resource sector specifically.
- Every part of the Program can be tied to what has been learned from previous accidents and incidents.
- Each year, the TAC will review the preceding 12 months of data to determine if the BAR Standard can be improved.
- Any changes to the BAR Standard will be incorporated into a revised edition.
Heli Niugini was awarded the BARS GOLD recognition in 2020 and continues to hold a high standard in safety and performance in the aviation industry.