HT Impact: Pawan Hans now gets a dedicated safety head
After Hindustan Times reported on Tuesday how Pawan Hans, helicopter services company which witnessed a chopper crash killing seven on Saturday, had given safety department to its general manager of northern region as an additional charge, the firm is all set to get a dedicated head for the department.
An order issued by the company on January 16 said the air safety department will now be headed by an independent person. The order declared that with the approval of the competent authority, the duties of general manager of northern region will be looked after by Vijay Pathiyan, who is currently the head of department (materials).
Experts are of the opinion that lax safety standards in Pawan Hans may be one of the possible reasons that led to the crash.
Vipul Saxena, ex-Air Force pilot and aviation expert, earlier said, “Looking at the past safety records of Pawan Hans, safety and quality apparently seem under stress of production targets. Safety and quality are required to be independent of any other functions.”
Welcoming the decision to have an officer with the sole responsibility to head the safety department, Saxena said, “I hope the impact of this order will lead to improvement in safety standards in the days to come.”
Pawan Hans, a public sector undertaking (PSU), has a safety department comprising just five people. Helicopter pilots from Mumbai said the accident was the fourteenth mishap nationally for the company since 2010.
An official from the company demanded strict action against the head of the safety department for the frequent accidents. The official alleged, “No one from the management has been held responsible for the 13 accidents that took place between 2010 and 2017. Officers in the higher management are largely appointed without cross-checking their background.”
The Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) continued with its investigation on Thursday. According to officials close to the investigation, the team was inspecting documents as a preliminary step to the inquiry.