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Risk assessment and management continued



RPA may detect hazards using optical and non-optical technologies. Detection may be supported by the use of a database (e.g. terrain and obstacles).

Optical techniques: Optical techniques are based on visible and near-visible (ultraviolet and infrared) light. Examples include video, light detection and ranging (LIDAR) and thermal imaging.

Non-optical techniques: Non-optical techniques are based mainly on radio-frequency electro-magnetic (including microwave) radiation. Examples include primary radar, SSR, ADS-B and multi-lateration. Non-optical techniques are generally not dependent on meteorological conditions.

Hazardous meteorological conditions

RPA operations should not commence or be aborted if :

  • high wind or wind gusts in excess of RPA manufacturer’s recommendations
  • fog and smoke
  • rain
  • hail
  • snow
  • thunder/lightening
  • other airborne hazards, including wake turbulence, wind shear, birds or volcanic ash.

Safety analyses may be needed to establish RPAS capabilities to mitigate the consequences of each specific hazard that may be encountered

Risk identification

Risk Assessment

A risk assessment must be carried out to quantify the actual threat posed by the RPAS operations. For some risks you will be able to put in place measures that minimise risks. In other cases the risk may be too high and you may need to take the decision not to go ahead with the flight operation.

Risk mitigation measures

Elements of a job safety assessment (JSA) for the operation of an RPA;

Risk assessment is an essential part of the risk management strategy and is used to determine what risks will be tolerated, mitigated (controlled), or in some cases, avoided.

The process is initiated when:

  1. an assumption made about risk in the Job Safety Assessment (JSA) is no longer valid,
  2. the JSA identifies a new risk, or;
  3. a new operation is undertaken which requires a permission, approval or exemption from a regulator.

The figure below details the safety risk management process that includes the following key areas:

  • communication and consultation
  • establishing the context
  • risk assessment
  • risk treatment
  • monitoring and review.

Communication and Consultation:

Where possible, any person affected by a risk should be identified and consulted with at each stage of the risk management process. The consultation process requires the sharing of information and should provide the genuine opportunity for all people affected by the risk to be part of the decision -making process.

Clear, open and transparent consultation is a key element in successful risk management practices.

Establishing the context:

In addition to communication and consultation, the context of a risk should be established in terms of its compliance with legislative standards and operational/organisational environment. The following steps should be undertaken to establish the context:

  1. Topic Objectives – Clearly articulate the specific objectives of the RPAS activity that will be undertaken, including locations, proposed time of operations, etc.
  2. External Environment – identify and consider what additional matters may need to be considered. This may include the identity of key stakeholders, legal/regulatory requirements from regulatory authorities, technical matters relevant to the risk, other activities or sensitivities that may impact on the risk, etc.
  3. Internal Environment – identify and consider if there are any special internal requirements that need to be considered, including staff training, human factors, reliability and suitability of equipment etc.
  4. Stakeholders – all stakeholders that may be impacted on the risk need to be identified. This may include the client, other airspace users, members of the public, public interest groups, owners and occupiers of buildings, and Local, State or Federal authorities etc.
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Drone Safety for Managers (UK)

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