Boeing – 500% Increase In Employee Safety Reports After Blowout

By Spyros Georgilidakis | May 25, 2024

Boeing employee reports on safety matters have increased dramatically, since the Alaska 737 MAX-9 door plug blowout last January.

On Friday the 24th of May, Boeing released its third annual safety report. This comes just days before the American aircraft manufacturer has to submit a plan addressing its safety culture and quality issues to the FAA.

Boeing – 500% Increase In Employee Safety Reports After Blowout
A Boeing 737 assembly line in Renton.

The FAA and Boeing have already been working on the formulation of the manufacturer’s plan. But this week, the aircraft manufacturer reported a spectacular increase in “Speak Up” reports. This is an employee safety reporting tool, that Boeing introduced in 2021.

The increase suggests that the company’s employees are getting more comfortable or less wary of retaliation when speaking up. However, Boeing stopped short of publishing raw numbers of employee safety reports, before and after last January’s MAX-9 blowout.

The door plug. Photo: NTSB

Boeing Employee Safety Reporting

A study into Boeing’s safety culture, that was published last February, pointed to several issues with the company’s safety culture. A lot of Boeing employees suggested that company lawyers briefed them before the interviews. Also, some employees reportedly saw the process as an audit.

Boeing’s latest report suggests that this situation is improving. Boeing also lists a number of safety improvements regarding the ODA employee base. The ODA program involves Boeing employees who also do FAA work.

Boeing – 500% Increase In Employee Safety Reports After Blowout
Image: Boeing

The working conditions of ODA program employees were a key focus of the FAA study that was published last February. Boeing claims that these employees now have their own reporting structure, improved oversight, more training, and improved awareness of available reporting processes.

Boeing’s aircraft production is substantially lower today than before the January accident. The FAA has limited 737 production to 38 aircraft per month. But Boeing is reportedly well short of even this target. This interferes with the expansion or fleet replacement plans of many Boeing customer airlines and lessors.


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