LACK OF TEAMWORK | The Dirty Dozen: Common human error factors in aircraft maintenance mishaps

  • Published
  • By Safety Directorate
  • Headquarters Air Education and Training Command

In aviation many tasks and operations are team affairs. No single person (or organization) can be responsible for the safe outcomes of all tasks. However, if someone is not contributing to the team effort, this can lead to unsafe outcomes. This means that workers must rely on colleagues and other outside agencies, as well as give others their support. Teamwork consists of many skills that each team member will need to prove their competence.

Some of the key teamwork skills include leadership, followership, effective communication, trust building, motivation of self and others, and praise giving.

To create an effective team, it is necessary that the following issues, as appropriate, are discussed, clarified, agreed and understood by all team members:

  • A clearly defined and maintained aim, or goal(s)
  • Each team member’s roles and responsibilities
  • Communication messages and methods
  • Limitations and boundaries
  • Emergency procedures
  • Individual expectations and concerns
  • What defines a successful outcome
  • Debriefing arrangements
  • Team dismissal arrangements
  • Opportunities for questions and clarification

A team’s effectiveness also can be improved through the selection of team members to reflect a broad range of experience and skill sets, as well as through practice and rehearsal.

If you don’t understand how you fit into the team, or any of the key issues outlined above, speak up! Be that person who asks the obvious question everyone is thinking, and no one else is willing to ask. Good team players will ensure the team is all on the same page before any critical task.

Lack of teamwork is just one of the aircraft maintenance Dirty Dozen. For the full list, click here:


NOTE: Below is a link to the Airman Safety App (ASAP), which provides Airmen the opportunity to report safety-related risks and close calls using the Airman Safety Action Report. Anyone, anywhere, with almost any device can quickly and easily report safety-related problems involving personnel, equipment or property. Remain anonymous if you wish. Reporting is the first step to obtaining a solution for improvement. Reporting is simple and only takes between 3 and 10 minutes. Click on the link below to start your report. It’s fast and easy!