The safety goal «Zero Accidents» has been replaced with «As Low as Reasonable Practical». This probably because the «Zero Accidents» goal is found impossible to achieve. Many aviation professionals including me, are not to happy about this. After all «Zero Accidents» is a goal which is achieved by most of the individuals in the aviation community throughout their career, whether they are professionals or into aviation sports. So it it obviously a realistic goal for the individuals, groups, companies and clubs. For the entire aviation industry, it is fair to say that it might be unrealistic as a goal. But it is not as a vision! Most companies or clubs, their employers or members follows that vision and as mentioned, succeed. Hence the vision for the majority has materialized as an achieved goal.
«As Low as Reasonable Practical» sounds good, but what does it really mean, or rather how is is interpreted. What is reasonable and what is practical. To me it´s an invitation to stretch the safety issue according to needs and convenience. In todays competitive markets with new low cost airlines taking to the sky at a rate which cannot meet yesterdays safety efforts, such a safety goal is not precise enough. Add to that the offshore oil industry and the helicopter companies which are under pressure from their customers to reduce costs. You don´t have to be a rocket scientist to see that the safety goal «As Low as Reasonable Practical» will be used to allow higher risks. A reminder of the old proverb: «If you think safety cost, try an accident».
Lost aircrafts can be replaced, lost lives cannot! – The best Safety Goal is hence Zero Accidents!