The impact of safety training on safety climate and attitudes

The impact of safety training on safety climate and attitudes
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    The impact of safety training on safety climate and attitudes 649 Paper presented at IASC-97 International Aviation Safety Conference, Rotterdam, 27-29 August 1997. Published in  Aviation Safety (ed Hans. M. Soekkha) Utrecht: VSP, 1997  pp. 649-660   The impact of safety training on safety climate and attitudes  NICK MCDONALD, SAM CROMIE AND MARIE WARD  Department of Psychology, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland Abstract - The SCARF project first implemented its pilot safety training programme of four courses (for managers, supervisors, trainers and ramp professionals in airside ground operations) in the airports of Dublin, Schiphol, Tenerife, and Munich (managers’ course)  between December 1994 and June 1995. For four out of five companies who implemented this training, safety attitudes but not safety climate significantly improved. It was  predicted that safety climate would gradually improve as larger numbers in each company were trained and if training was in parallel with other safety initiatives. In one company, subsequent to the initial pilot project, the Ramp Profession als’ training course has been run with three groups at one airport and with another group at different airport. A manager’s course involving personnel from both airports was also run. There has been a gradual but steady improvement in safety climate over the course of the training  programme. Starting from a negative level, there has been a change to a marginally  positive climate. There are significant differences between the two airports in the level of safety climate. Managers at the end of the training period exhibit the highest safety attitude and climate scores. Permanent full-time staff have significantly lower levels of safety climate than their part-time colleagues. Safety attitudes were more positive than safety climate and no overall significant differences associated with training were found.  Keywords:  safety training, safety attitudes, safety climate, airside ground operations .   1.   INTRODUCTION 1.1   The SCARF project SCARF (an acronym for 'Safety Courses for Airport Ramp Functions') is a university-industry programme to develop, implement and evaluate safety training for those working on and managing the airport ramp. The universities involved are Trinity College Dublin (Ireland), Loughborough University of Technology (United Kingdom), the University of Groningen, Traffic Research Centre (the Netherlands) and Universidad de La Laguna (Tenerife, Spain). The Enterprise partners comprise four airlines - Aer Lingus and Ryanair from Ireland,     N. McDonald, S. Cromie and M. Ward    650 KLM from the Netherlands and Iberia from Spain; three airport authorities - Munich Airport Authority in Germany, Aer Rianta-Dublin Airport (Ireland) and AENA in Tenerife, Spain; and one fuel company - CEPSA of Tenerife. The consortium includes a multi-media design specialist, EPCo (Ireland). The training was based on a human factors analysis of the core tasks of aircraft ground handling (1). This analysis was based on examination of ramp accident data, participant observation studies on the ramp area, and the application of generic human factors research findings to ground handling. The role of organisational factors has been increasingly recognised in analyses of systems safety (2,3). In common with this, the SCARF programme adopts an organisational approach, aiming to develop the organisation’s safety management system. Thus training courses were developed for four different levels of the company (operatives, trainers, supervisors and managers). The training focuses on a range of competencies that are essential to effective safety management. As well as technical and operational knowledge and skills, the training also addresses communication and consultation, motivation and discipline, coordination within and between organisations and the generation and effective use of accident and incident information. The four training courses are an integrated package. One of the core training goals of the course for operatives is to develop a sense of professionalism  –    “rampmanship”. The success of this approach depends on the effectiveness of the other three courses. To have credibility with trainees, the trainers need to be well versed in the rationale, content, delivery methods and technology of the course. To enable transfer of training to the operational environment, the supervisors need to be able to operate a system complementary to the rampmanship training. Similarly the manager’s course needs to equip managers to establish an appropriate framework of responsibility for safety, processes critical to accident  prevention (accident-reporting and a risk-management approach to costs) and a commitment to developing and evaluating safety initiatives. The interdependence of the courses is emphasised by themes being developed in a complementary way. The SCARF programme makes use of a variety of training techniques and technologies: classroom presentations, group activities and discussions are augmented with video and multimedia instruction. Short video sequences highlight the antecedents and consequences of specific types of unsafe  behaviour, while the computer-based multi-media package focuses on knowledge of procedures and identification of hazards. 1.2   Previous evaluation of SCARF The SCARF project first implemented its pilot training programme of four courses (for managers, supervisors, trainers and ramp professionals) in the airports of Dubli n, Schiphol, Tenerife, and Munich (managers’ course) between    The impact of safety training on safety climate and attitudes 651 December 1994 and June 1995. During its development, pilot SCARF  programmes were evaluated by partners in the consortium. For this purpose, measures of safety attitudes and organisational safety climate were developed specifically relating to the ramp by Diaz and her colleagues (4). Organisational safety climate concerns the perception of company policies towards safety, safety communication, feedback on performance and conflicting demands concerning safety. Safety attitudes relate to opinions about the importance of safety  procedures and behaviour. These evaluation measures were given to trainees in five companies several weeks before and several weeks after training, and, at the same times, to control groups who did not receive training. For four out of five of these companies, including Aer Lingus, training significantly improved safety attitudes but not climate, while the control groups showed significant changes in neither. In Aer Lingus attitudes among those trained (n=37) improved from 3.82 to 3.92, while climate showed an insignificant fall from 1.48 to 1.45. The fifth company showed no significant change in attitudes and a small but significant decrease in climate scores (5). These findings were much as expected. It was not considered surprising that climate scores had not changed due to training since only a small group of operatives were trained in each company. It was predicted that perceptions of safety climate would gradually improve as larger numbers in each company were trained and if training was in parallel with other safety initiatives. 2.   THE PRESENT STUDY  2.1    SCARF training in Aer Lingus In Aer Lingus, subsequent to the initial pilot project, the SCARF training course 1 (for operatives) has been run three times in Dublin  –   October 1995, April/May 1996 and September 1996, once in Shannon, in August 1996, and once in Cork, in October/ November 1996. Those trained comprised mostly loader/cleaners, lead loader/ cleaners and shift leaders. In Dublin 155 operatives were trained, in Shannon, 41 and in Cork, 31. Training normally consisted of four days, one per week for four consecutive weeks. Data from the Cork training was not available at the time of writing this paper. One manager’s course (co urse 4) was run in January to March 1996. This entailed four sessions: a half-day preliminary session, a 2-day seminar, a half-day review of action plans and a final one day seminar. These were spread out over three months.     N. McDonald, S. Cromie and M. Ward    652  2.2   Evaluation strategy Scales of safety attitudes and climate were administered by Aer Lingus personnel on the first and last day of training, yielding before (time 1) and after (time 2) measures of these variables. Some of the October 1995 trainees were not administered time 2 questionnaires until April 96. This was done as part of an attempt to investigate the value of separating the evaluation process from the actual training situation. There was opportunity on these questionnaires to make comments about the training or other issues. 3.   EVALUATION OF SAFETY CLIMATE  3.1   Ramp professionals course - Dublin airport There has been a gradual but steady improvement in safety climate over the course of the training programme. Figure 1 shows that measures of safety climate in Dublin Airport, as well as increasing during training itself (t=-2.2, p<0.05), have also shown a general increase over time. At the beginning of this training intervention the levels of safety climate were negative; the SCARF training  programme has been associated with transforming this to approximately the neutral point of the scale for the Dublin training group. When all trainees are put together the overall measured safety climate has moved to the positive side of the scale (1.5 being the mid-point of the scale). Those trained later start off with a more positive perception. In addition, those of the October 1995 training group who were not followed up until April 1996 show more positive time-2  perceptions than those who completed the survey immediately after training. The correlation between safety climate and the time of assessment is statistically significant (Spearman Rho=0.825, tied p<0.05)    O  c   t   9   5   (   A   )   O  c   t   9   5   (   B   )   A  p  r  -   9   6   M  a  y  -   9   6   S  e  p  -   9   6   S  e  p  -   9   6 Month   Trained Oct 95 (A)Trained Oct 95 (B)Trained Apr/May 96Trained Sept 96 Pre-SCARF level   Figure 1.  Changes in mean safety climate scores over time (Dublin only).    The impact of safety training on safety climate and attitudes 653 (Note that the pre-SCARF level refers to measures taken in Autumn 1994 and includes scores from managers and supervisors; the mean for operatives only would  be somewhat lower.) There was considerable scope for improvement, since the mean climate score for Aer Lingus in the srcinal evaluation (1.39), in autumn 1994, was significantly lower than most of the other companies. Indeed this score includes some managers and supervisors, who tend to have higher scores, so the score for operatives would have been lower than this. There is clearly still scope for improvement. A company in the srcinal evaluation had a mean climate score of 1.89, 71% higher than the post-training score reported here. The training thus has had a significant, progressive and sustained impact on safety climate in Aer Lingus in Dublin Airport. This suggests that receiving safety training highlighted, for the trainees, the company’s commitment to safety, its awareness of the operational hazards that they face and its willingness to distribute the responsibility for safety throughout the organisation.  3.2   Differences between training groups There are clear differences between the safety climate levels of Dublin ramp  professionals and those in Shannon, and managers from both Aer Lingus and Aer Rianta. Managers at the end of the training period exhibit the highest training scores. The differences between managers and the other groups are not statistically significant (this reflects the small numbers of managers in training),  but the Shannon ramp professionals show significantly higher levels of safety climate than their Dublin colleagues (t=-4.1, p<0.001)(see figure 2).    M  e  a  n   C   l   i  m  a   t  e   S  c  o  r  e Start of trainingEnd of trainingManagers.Shannon.Dublin.  
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