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The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has opened the consultation process on its proposed amendments to the Transport Safety Investigation Regulations 2021 (TSIR). TSIR provides the framework for reporting of aviation, marine and rail occurrences to the ATSB. TSIR came into effect in September 2021 and the Unofficial Compilation of the current TSIR with the proposed changes can be accessed here.

Some of the key proposed amendments include:

  1. categorisation of aircraft operations to align with the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations, to prioritise them in four distinct categories:

    • Category A (passenger transport) aircraft operation

    • Category B (commercial non-passenger) aircraft operation

    • Category C (non-commercial) aircraft operation

    • Category D (type 2 RPA and certain unmanned balloons) aircraft operation

  2. revised definitions for aircraft accidents, aircraft incidents and includes new definitions for a fatal and serious aircraft-related injury

  3. new prescriptions of what occurrences need to be immediately reported, or routinely reported, for each category of operation, with certain categorisations bearing a stricter reporting standard

  4. extend the persons who are responsible to report occurrences in the aviation and marine industries:

  • in aviation, it is proposed to extend to sport aviation bodies and insurers of aircraft

  • in marine, it is proposed to extend to pilotage providers and vessel traffic service authorities

  1. prescribing the format for written reports for the Chief Commissioner, and

  2. changes to align the TSIR’s language with other Australia's Transport Safety Investigation legislation.

Whilst the ATSB propose to broaden the definition of persons responsible for reporting aviation occurrences, those persons (such as an insurer) only have to report an occurrence if they have a reasonable belief that no other responsible person has reported it. Separately to these proposed amendments, there is discussion that the ATSB will seek to extend the written reporting timeframes from within 72 hours of an occurrence to within seven days for all operators (as defined in the TSIR).  

For aviation insurers, the significant takeaway from these proposed amendments is that the ATSB is seeking to include insurers as a ‘responsible person’ requiring insurers to either gain assurance a reportable matter has been notified or make the notification itself. Whilst it is often the case that insurers are notified of an occurrence by its insureds and this can be some time after the occurrence, if the proposed amendments are passed then insurers will have to determine if it is a reportable matter then:

  • get an assurance from the insured the occurrence has been reported

  • request that loss adjusters ensure reportable occurrences are reported, or

  • notify the occurrence to the ATSB itself.

The consultation period closes on 7 March 2022. Any person or entity intending to provide feedback on the proposed amendments is encouraged to do so here.

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