In an organization where the safety level is high and incidents and serious accidents are very rare, a steady erosion of safety awareness and protective measures can occur, especially when productive demands rise. Thus, it is important to continuously identify and monitor aspects in the organization that can affect work performance and safety. In an ongoing joint research project between the LFV Group (Swedish state agency that operates airports and is responsible for air navigation services) and Lund University, the aim is to develop a questionnaire-based methodology for identifying and monitoring work and situational factors in Swedish air traffic control centers and towers in order to identify in advance aspects that can affect safety in the organization. This paper presents preliminary findings from interviews conducted to determine the variables for assessing work and situational factors as well as initial findings from a pilot study testing the questionnaire. Results from the interview sessions showed that when evaluating work and situational factors the following aspects should be included: safety culture, commitment, organizational climate, psychosocial work environment, leadership, communication, areas of conflict, and participation/involvement. Results from the pilot study showed that the majority of respondents found the questionnaire items to be of high relevance for finding deficiencies in the organization. Follow-up interviews or group discussions were recommended that would give additional and more detailed information. Preliminary results also revealed issues that could be further developed in the respondents’ work situations. Respondents with administrative tasks indicated communication skills and teamwork as areas for further improvement. Some air traffic controllers wanted more knowledge about aircraft specifications and a few thought it was too complicated to write reports on small deficiencies and incidents and believed this could negatively affect the safety reporting culture.

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Published on 01/01/2009

Volume 2009, 2009
Licence: CC BY-NC-SA license

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