From flight attendant to human factors safety investigator, Indonesia’s Ucu Suherman has already helped halve the death toll resulting from one of her country’s most popular events.
Ucu was in Australia recently to attend an Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s Human Factors for Transport Safety Investigators course in Canberra and a psychology symposium in Adelaide.
She is proud of her work in helping to make the Lebaran holiday period safer for Indonesians.
Lebaran is one of Indonesia’s major national holidays, lasting several days after the fasting ritual of Ramadhan. More than 30 million people travel – mostly by road – to Jakarta, congesting the city’s vehicular arteries.
Ucu, 37, says the Indonesian Government and its National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC), developed messages focusing on driver fatigue to reduce the injury and death toll.
“In 2014 there were 3888 accidents with 714 deaths and 1939 people seriously injured,” Ucu said.
“After our campaign this year using messages about fatigue, the number of accidents was 1947. The death toll was reduced to 366 with just 634 serious injuries. This was a big improvement.”
After graduating from university in 2002 with a psychology degree, Ucu started working as a flight attendant for Merpati Nusantara Airlines. She was soon asked to join the safety division as a human factors officer. A year later Ucu was invited to conduct training for flight attendants.
“This was a very busy time for me but I enjoyed the training work very much,” she said.
Keen to further her experience, Ucu took up a position with Lion Air Group as flight attendant instructor, where she worked for five years before being asked to become the safety management systems manager.
An opportunity to join the NTSC in 2016 as a safety investigator was too good to refuse. Ucu’s work at NTSC includes not only Human Factors input to investigations, but also training for other NTSC staff and Indonesian aviation industry personnel.
“I have worked at the NTSC for only seven months but I love the human element of this work,” she said. “Seeing what happens beyond the system—the human factors perspective is very interesting.”
One of only three female safety investigators at the NTSC, Ucu is in Australia to benefit from the Australian government Indonesia Transport Safety Assistance Package (ITSAP). Her colleague Apib Prayogi was in Canberra in September.
The ATSB’s contribution to ITSAP is to deliver training and support for investigators from the NTSC to enhance transportation safety for the people of Indonesia and Australian travellers to Indonesia.
Ucu had an opportunity to experience a uniquely Australian experience while here – the Melbourne Cup. But the highlight of her day was eating lamingtons and pavlova. “I love it,” she said.
Edited by William Sykes