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Magnus McCabe

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I am Principal Safety Specialist in the External Safety team at NATS. I represent NATS as a safety domain technical expert with external stakeholders including ICAO, EASA, CANSO, UK CAA, and Eurocontrol. I have 30 years of experience in ATM, which includes 15 years in operational roles, ATC incident investigation, Human Factors, Safety Culture, safety management systems, safety assurance, ATC training delivery, and operational ATC procedures management. I have enjoyed wide-ranging involvement in European and global aviation safety working groups and have considerable experience working with and advising ANSPs, airlines, hospitals, and the nuclear and oil industries on safety management, Safety Culture, Just Culture, and Incident Investigation. Although I have worked in non-operational roles for many years, I have never lost touch with the realities of life at the front line. Thanks to a role which takes me to all of the NATS operational units on a regular basis I ensure that, when I visit airports and ACCs, I plug in beside the ATCOs and spend time with the support staff and engineers. My degree in linguistics provided the foundation for a lifelong fascination with the sociocultural aspects of language use. Human beings are hardwired to think, act, and behave creatively and it is this innate creative drive that is both expressed and catalysed by language. It is a function that cannot be switched off and is as ever-present in the work environment as it is anywhere else. This is one of the principal roots of normalisation of deviance. I am currently leading a project to investigate, understand, and mitigate this aspect of human behaviour in ATM.

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