Safety notices are issued by parachute manufacturers, parachute associations and government agencies to make sure that skydiving equipment is free from known problems that could prevent it from working as designed. There are over 2,000 safety reports on parachute equipment from 106 manufacturers and 24 parachute associations and government agencies published within the safety information database (SID).
During a reserve inspection and repack the reserve packer is responsible for making sure that the equipment is free from any known safety notice, however, every skydiver should be aware of the safety notice system and be capable of checking for safety notices on any equipment that they assemble. As an owner of a parachute system you should be aware of every safety notice published about your equipment and any work that has been done to comply with any relevant safety notice.
Checking for safety notices used to be a daunting task that meant looking through all safety notices, however, now all you have to so is put your equipment details into the safety information database and it will search for you and provide a list of safety information relevant to your equipment. The BPA provide copies of all safety notices that they have published. This is formation is also available through your CCI who should hold copies on the drop zone. Some confusion exists with regards to what a safety notice is, because of the different titles used and the different classifications. Manufacturers, associations and government agencies have used many different names such as safety notices, safety information, safety bulletins, airworthiness directives and even news letters. The name does not dictate its importance, they are all equal, and it’s the content that matters. However, some do have legal implications if ignored. The best approach is to believe that all safety information has to be complied with no matter what they’re called.
The classifications are as follows: optional, recommended, advisory, information and mandatory. These severity levels are important, mandatory means you must comply with the safety information and you’d be a fool to ignore the recommended level. The best approach is to comply with all safety information where possible. If you have any doubts consult your CCI and rigger. Where a manufacturers safety notice conflicts with a BPA safety notice then the BPA one takes precedence. This is usually when a manufacturer gives it a recommended severity level but the association gives it a mandatory one.
When a rig has had a safety notice issued against it, the owner of the rig should keep a copy of any work carried out to show that the safety notice has been complied with. The safety information database allows for a print out of all relevant safety notices on any specific rig. This should be kept with the equipment along with a worksheet or receipt to show the work carried out to comply with all safety notices.
There are some arguments about which safety notices are legal and must be adhered to and which safety notices are not legal because they’ve not been supplied by the official governing body that provides the rigger with their qualification. I am not a legal expert but to do my job properly and make sure that my customers are kept as safe as possible, I don't care who’s published the safety notice as long as I know about it so I can make sure my customers are safe. If I’m not 100% satisfied that a particular safety notice does not affect the equipment, then I will go to the association and ask them to discuss the safety notice in question and make an official ruling. If in doubt about any safety notice do not put the equipment into service. If you ask your reserve packer about a safety notice that could effect your equipment and he/she replies by saying that it can be ignored because it's not been published by your parachute association then I strongly suggest you find a new reserve packer
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