CHC Safety Summit preview: George Santos on compliance

In advance of this year’s CHC Safety & Quality Summit, Oct. 1-3 in Dallas, Texas, we asked some of the speakers to give us a preview of what they’ll be sharing with summit attendees. Here, George Ayokunle Santos of Loben Limited shares his thoughts on compliance — and why current approaches to seeking compliance may actually be counterproductive. Click here to learn more about the summit and here to register.


Vertical: How did you get involved with safety?

George Santos: I began my career flying in 1991 as a professional pilot in the offshore oil-and-gas industry in the North Sea and West Africa. From there, I got involved in crew resource management (CRM) training/management before eventually branching into organizational safety, specializing in soft skills. Today, I am the principal consultant of Loben Limited, which develops systems based upon a pragmatic approach to the development and management of safety/training systems (regulatory and non-regulatory), procedures, programs and manuals for international clients. I have been a regular speaker at the summit and look forward to this event each year.

Vertical: Tell us about your presentation at the CHC Safety & Quality Summit. What will you be focusing on?

GS: I will be giving two presentations at this year’s CHC Safety & Quality Summit. The first, titled “Compliance? Big Deal!” addresses why and how to develop a culture of willful and habitual adherence to rules. It talks to the need for a change from people doing the right thing because they “fear” getting caught if they don’t, to how to promote the principle of doing the right thing because you want to (and you know it’s the right thing to do). The session also addresses how that culture enhances our bottom line.

My second presentation, titled “Safety Practices – Embracing Conduct, Escaping Convenience,” addresses how to manage the tendency of first responses to corporate issues being biased towards the most convenient options. These responses are at the expense of targeted and lasting results, which themselves lead to further system failures, with the cycle repeating itself. Looking at the bigger picture and accepting that the organization may have played a contributory role is often not the first instinct of industry leaders but, without doing that, we tend to fix the specific event rather than the underlying causes — so we shouldn’t be surprised when something similar happens again.

George Ayokunle Santos is the principal consultant of Loben Limited. CHC Photo

Vertical: What is one surprising thing you’ll be sharing with attendees?

GS: How certain industry buzz words like “compliance” may ultimately not be a good culture to encourage for long-term results. While there is clearly a need for a compliant culture, we need to change the way we seek to ensure it happens.

Vertical: Who do you think should attend your presentation, and why?

GS: Industry decision makers interested in making major corporate policy changes would be the primary audience but, in truth, anyone with a role to play in the aviation industry should attend. The two presentations are not just focused on the decision makers but will hopefully have something to offer folks who are in support roles, in the cockpit, in the hangar, or on the ramp.

Vertical: What is one change you would make to improve safety in the helicopter industry?

GS: I would encourage decision makers to consider alternative ways of thinking to start addressing true root causal factors of situations being addressed, rather than settling for the convenient “universally accepted norms.”  These alternative ways are based upon developing a sound understanding of human factors/behavior.

One thought on “CHC Safety Summit preview: George Santos on compliance

  1. I began my career in Helicopters in 1952 with the RCNAS and quit flying in 1987 after breaking my back in an accident due to a governor failure. I have been involved in three accidents, all due to mechanical failure, I have also had two mid-air engine failures with automatic re-lights.
    My career has involved the following positions Pilot/Engineer, Director of Maintenance (M1/M2) for Power Corporation owned aviation companies both fixed and rotary wing based out of the Quebec area, Canada and the NWT including the Arctic.
    Quebec operations manager for Canadian Helicopters and affiliates on the LG-2 Hydro Electric Project (James Bay) and so on as a freelance P/E with numerous companies.
    With the Federal Government I became a Procurement and Technical Safety Officer for the charter of aircraft for all the Federal Departments requiring transport, including DND.
    I was certified as a TCA Auditor, working with the USAF Auditing Team from Scott Air Force base.
    I have attended three (3) safety courses at the Safety Institute of Southern California.
    The reason behind the above brief summary of my background is to state that the safety margins of any company are reflected by the owners and shareholders and the all round LACK OF ENFORCEMENT by the governments involved and if you notice both complain about lack of funding/or people thru there incompetence in providing or hiring.
    Have all the conference’s in the world, and has there been any less accidents. The money spent on meetings would be better spent on enforcement by the governments thru TCA and FAA and maybe the accidents rate will come down. Cut out the meeting BS and start from the top were it actually originates.

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