The June 2 editorial “Secrecy is not safe” called for transparency from the new Metrorail Safety Commission. My 30 years of aviation experience says that full transparency is the enemy of safety. I am a former executive of Airlines for America, the Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association and the Regional Airline Association who, as president of the RAA, oversaw the industry safety initiatives after the most recent fatal U.S. airline accident in the United States, in 2009.
Confidentiality is the foundation for safety-management systems, a just culture in which all parties — employees, front-line managers, senior executives and government regulators — can freely share information, potential risks and even near-misses without reprisal.
Commercial aviation is safe and getting safer because labor, management and government are encouraged to self-report within the system potential hazards and unintentional screw-ups.
District, Maryland and Virginia officials are taking the right first step in creating the Metrorail Safety Commission under this guiding principle.
By allowing the safety professionals to do their jobs, the media will have plenty to report about — notably how much safer it will be riding on Metro.
Roger Cohen, Vienna