Najmedin Meshkati, Professor, Department of Civil/Environmental Engineering and Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Southern California is one of 24 experts appointed by the Federal Aviation Administration who will review Boeing’s safety management processes and how they relate to Boeing’s safety culture. The panel will convene in the coming weeks and have nine months to complete its review and issue findings and recommendations. Individuals from NASA, FAA, labor unions, independent engineering experts, air carriers, manufacturers with delegated authority, legal experts and others make up the panel. The review panel addresses a key requirement (Sec. 103) in the 2020 Aircraft Certification, Safety, and Accountability Act.
In September, the FAA strengthened its oversight of aviation manufacturers that are authorized as Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) holders by taking action to protect aviation industry employees who perform FAA functions from interference by employers.
The agency issued final policy that requires ODA holders to monitor, report and investigate all allegations of interference and to report the results to the FAA. It also established a clear path for these industry employees to speak freely with FAA certification officials at any time. These employees must be trained on the new policy.
Dr. Meshkati is a (tenured, full) Professor of Civil/Environmental Engineering, Industrial & Systems Engineering; and International Relations at the University of Southern California (USC); an Associate (ex-Research Fellow) with the Project on Managing the Atom at Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School; and has been an Associate with the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government at Harvard (2018-2020).
Meshkati was a Jefferson Science Fellow and a Senior Science and Engineering Advisor, Office of Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State, US State Department, Washington, DC (2009-2010). He is a Commissioner of The Joint Commission (a not-for-profit organization that accredits and certifies thousands of healthcare organizations and programs in the United States and operates in many countries around the world) and on the Governance Board of the Patient Safety Movement Foundation. He is a member of the NASEM (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine) Gulf Offshore Energy Safety (GOES) Board and served for two terms on its Board on Human-Systems Integration (BOHSI). He has served as a member of the Global Advisory Council of the Civilian Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) Global, chaired by Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering (2013-2016).
For the past 35 years, he has been teaching and conducting research on risk reduction and reliability enhancement of complex technological systems, including nuclear power, aviation, petrochemical and transportation industries. He has been selected by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and National Research Council (NRC) for his interdisciplinary expertise concerning human performance and safety culture and served as member and technical advisor on two national panels in the United States investigating two major recent accidents: The NAS/NRC Committee “Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident for Improving Safety and Security of U.S. Nuclear Plants” (2012-2014); and the NAE/NRC “Committee on the Analysis of Causes of the Deepwater Horizon Explosion, Fire, and Oil Spill to Identify Measures to Prevent Similar Accidents in the Future” (2010-2011).
Dr. Meshkati has inspected many petrochemical and nuclear power plants around the world, including Chernobyl (1997), Fukushima Daiichi and Daini (2012). He has worked with the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, as an expert on human factors and safety culture, on the investigation of the BP Refinery explosion in Texas City (2005) and served as a member of the National Research Council (NRC) Committee on Human Performance, Organizational Systems and Maritime Safety. He also served as a member of the NRC Marine Board’s Subcommittee on Coordinated R&D Strategies for Human Performance to Improve Marine Operations and Safety.
Dr. Meshkati is the only full-time USC faculty member who has continuously been conducting research on human factors and aviation safety-related issues (e.g., cockpit design and automation, crew resource management, safety management system, safety culture, and runway incursions,) and teaching in the USC 69-year-old internationally renowned Aviation Safety and Security Program, for the past 30 years. During this period, he has taught in the “Human Factors in Aviation Safety” and “System Safety” short courses. From 1992 to 1999, he also was the Director and had administrative and academic responsibility for the USC Professional Programs, which included Aviation Safety, as well as for the Transportation Safety, and Process Safety Management (which he designed and developed) programs.
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