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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(6), 1258;

Duty of Notification and Aviation Safety—A Study of Fatal Aviation Accidents in the United States in 2015

Mehiläinen Airport Health Centre, 01530 Vantaa, Finland
Department of Forensic Medicine, University of Helsinki, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
Center for Human Identification, University of North Texas Health Science Center, 3500 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth, TX 76107, USA
Mehiläinen Kielotie Health Centre, 01730 Vantaa, Finland
Faculty of Medicine and Life Sciences, University of Tampere, 33100 Tampere, Finland
Fimlab Laboratories, 33100 Tampere, Finland
NASA’s Ames Research Center, Mountain View, CA 94035, USA
Occupational and Aviation Medicine, University of Otago, 6242 Wellington, New Zealand
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 April 2018 / Revised: 6 June 2018 / Accepted: 11 June 2018 / Published: 13 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Issues in Occupational Safety and Health)
Full-Text   |   PDF [893 KB, uploaded 13 June 2018]   |  


After the Germanwings accident, the French Safety Investigation Authority (BEA) recommended that the World Health Organization (WHO) and European Community (EC) develop clear rules for the duty of notification process. Aeromedical practitioners (AMEs) face a dilemma when considering the duty of notification and conflicts between pilot privacy and public and third-party safety. When balancing accountability, knowledge of the duty of notification process, legislation and the clarification of a doctor’s own set of values should be assessed a priori. Relatively little is known of the magnitude of this problem in aviation safety. To address this, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) database was searched to identify fatal accidents during 2015 in the United States in which a deceased pilot used a prescribed medication or had a disease that potentially reduced pilot performance and was not reported to the AME. Altogether, 202 finalized accident reports with toxicology were available from (the year) 2015. In 5% (10/202) of these reports, the pilot had either a medication or a disease not reported to an AME which according to the accident investigation was causal to the fatal accident. In addition, the various approaches to duty of notification in aviation in New Zealand, Finland and Norway are discussed. The process of notification of authorities without a pilot’s express permission needs to be carried out by using a guidance protocol that works within legislation and professional responsibilities to address the pilot and the public, as well as the healthcare provider. Professional guidance defining this duty of notification is urgently needed. View Full-Text
Keywords: accountability; duty of notification; aeromedical practitioners; fatal accident; aviation; safety accountability; duty of notification; aeromedical practitioners; fatal accident; aviation; safety

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Vuorio, A.; Budowle, B.; Sajantila, A.; Laukkala, T.; Junttila, I.; Kravik, S.E.; Griffiths, R. Duty of Notification and Aviation Safety—A Study of Fatal Aviation Accidents in the United States in 2015. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 1258.

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