Dangers of Drift

01 March 2012
To be at your place of peak performance stay vigilant for drift. Drift is a concept that Prof. Sidney Dekker at Lunds University in Sweden uses to describe a facet of human factors and safety. Human factors determines how a person‟s assessments and actions made sense to them, given the circumstances at the time. It looks at the systems around the person. So what is drift?
In aerospace maintenance, drift is of particular interest. January, 2000, Alaska Air flight 261 is en-route from Puerto Vallarta to Seattle when the horizontal stabilizer freezes. All 88 people on board were lost in the Pacific because the jack-screw and nut locked-up. When the plane was launched into service 30 years earlier, the jackscrew and nut were lubed every 350 hours. But over time, when the visual inspection looked OK, 350 hours grew to 700. 700 hours lube interval became the new norm. This grew to 1000 hour interval, then 1600 hours then to 2500 hours and when the plane crashed it was at 5000 hours between lubes. To the people at the time, each decision made sense. But they drifted away from the 350 hours interval with catastrophic results. One small decision at a time.
“Are you drifting?” Has your attitude drifted from Gratitude to Grumbling? Has your Appearance gone from suits to sweats? How about your work habits? Have they gone from sharp to sloppy; passing along work that is not your best and calling it „good?‟ What about the people you know? Have you moved from involved to isolated? What about your Accountability? Once victor now victim? Do you have more excuses these days for underperforming? When added all together have you drifted from Warrior to Wimp? Come on, get back in the game. Drift is Dangerous! To be at your place of peak performance stay vigilant for drift.
Be well and keep adding value.
Alden B.
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