The Basic Aviation Risk Standard Program (BARS Program) was developed by the Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) in conjunction with the onshore resource sector to provide a system of oversight for the contracted aviation sector. The program consists of four key elements: a risk based Standard, the audit Program, Training and Data analysis. The program has expanded to also support government, humanitarian, and offshore operations and corporate and insurance sectors in their management of risk associated with aviation activities.
The BARS Program was initiated in 2009 when leading resource companies identified a need to have a single consistent aviation standard for their contracted aircraft operators. In many situations multiple resource companies were utilizing the same aircraft operators but insisting on adherence to standards of varying depth and rigor. This caused multiple and redundant audits, inconsistent auditing standards, and potentially confusing situations for the operators in what standard to apply. The benefit of BARS for the contracting companies was a single audit result which could be shared by multiple contracting companies. It also reduced the audit burden on the operator, provided a centralized database of audit and event history, and improved quality standards of auditing and consistency of audits across all countries and regions of the world.
The BAR Standard
The BAR Standard utilizes the bowtie model of risk management. The threats are identified by historical events in the contracted aviation sector and associated operating environment. These are constantly updated by the data analysis element of the program. Additional bowtie models have been developed under the BAR Standard for helicopter external load operations, night vision goggle operations, airborne geophysical survey operations, aerial fire fighting and even helicopter aerial mustering. In 2016 the Flight Safety Foundation, in conjunction with HeliOffshore, produced a Standard for Offshore Helicopter Operations in support of the Offshore industry, also utilizing the bow tie model and safety performance requirements.
The Audit Program
All BARS audits are carried out by trained and accredited BARS auditors working under a registered BARS Audit Company. Training is provided which includes initial, annual recurrent, and Lead Auditor upgrade training to auditors in the program. Under the BARS Program, the operator requests the audit and thereby the audit report is owned by the operator. Operators undergo an annual audit to the BAR Standard to become registered BARS Aircraft Operators (AO). Color code designations are applied to the operator's BARS registration with green indicating the operator has undertaken an audit and closed all priority 1 and P2 non-conformities. Silver indicates two audits whereby the AO has conducted the renewal audit before the current registration expired and closed P1 and P2 non-conformities within the allocated timeframe. Gold designation AOs have completed two or more renewal audits before registration expiration and closed the P1 and P2 non-conformities within the allocated timeframes. Amber indicates the audit has been conducted and non-conformities are still open within the allocated time (normal for the renewal cycle). Quality reviews of all audit data are carried out by the BARS Program Office (BPO) with data fed back to the audit company and also used in the data analysis program.
The BARS Program provides three main training courses: The Auditor Accreditation brings an individual to standards required to conduct a BARS Audit. The Aviation Coordinator training is targeted for the resource sector employee or manager who hold duties or responsibilities relating to aviation. Helicopter External Loads for ground personnel trains staff who are involved with the handling of loads around helicopter sling operations.
Data Analysis from the BARS Program
The program generates a large amount of data. Analysis of this material by an independent body assists the contracting companies to be aware of existing or new risks and hazards and plan their operations accordingly. The data is also used in updating the bowtie model.
The contents of the BAR Standard(s) are provided by the contracting companies who join the BARS Program as BARS Member Organisations (BMOs). The BMOs that are represented by the BARS Technical Advisory Committee (TAC). The TAC meets biannually to review the standard, the program effectiveness and share case studies and relevant information. The BARS Program Office has a Standards Review Team that undertakes the quality reviews of the program data and provides recommendations to the TAC for changes to the standard.