A safety culture survey amongst aircraft maintenance engineers at a leading airline in South Africa

Jakoet, Fatima (2009-03)

Thesis (MBA (Business Management))--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Safety culture is of paramount importance in high risk industries such as railway maintenance, nuclear, offshore industries and aviation industry, resulting in the assessment of safety culture in these industries. The purpose of this study is to assess the safety culture amongst maintenance engineers at a leading airline in South Africa. The approach to the study was twofold. Firstly, an intensive literature study was conducted, followed by an empirical study. The literature study clarified and zoned in on the importance safety management system and the pivotal role of human factors in aviation maintenance and its contribution to safety culture. The Airways Technical Safety Culture Survey (ATSCS) was distributed to all the maintenance engineers employed at a major South African airline. The subsequent data, received from 113 respondents, was interpreted and then analysed using the SPSS statistical software package. Firstly, the responses to the seven scales of the ATSCS were examined to determine whether the data was suitable for factor analysis. The data was analysed using the SPSS statistical package. A principal axis factor analysis, with a Varimax rotation was performed on the data in order to determine which factors cluster together. Scale reliability was determined by making use of Chronbach’s coefficient alpha. The average mean of the corrected correlations between each scale item was also calculated to examine the internal homogeneity and unidimensionality of the different scales. Next, the items were subjected to item analysis. The mean, standard deviation, skewness and kurtosis were calculated for the sample scores of the ATSCS. The influence and effect of the biographical variables on the maintenance engineers’ attitudes towards safety were determined by comparing the responses of various employee subsets with one another by means of t-tests and ANOVA. The results of the t-tests revealed that ethnicity had a statistically significant effect on the safety attitude with regard to management’s attitude towards safety and safety training. The effect sizes were calculated to determine the strength of the relationship, and this was found to be of medium effect. The ANOVA results indicated that education, geographical location and fleet qualification have no effect on the safety attitude of the population. However, an ANOVA of work area revealed that the major maintenance work area differs significantly from the other two groups in five areas of the Safety Culture Survey. Finally, the overall responses of the majority of participants in this study were very positive with regard to the seven core factors related to attitudes toward safety. It is suggested that future studies of this nature should incorporate a larger sample consisting of cross-cultural carriers in the global industry. This will confirm the external validity of the present study and support the transfer of findings to other maintenance engineers.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Talle studies is onderneem om die veiligheidskultuur in hoë-risiko industrieë soos die spoorweginstandhoudingsbedryf, kernbedryf en olieboorbedryf te definieer en te assesseer terwyl daar slegs ’n paar gedokumenteerde pogings in die lugvaartbedryf bestaan. Die doel van hierdie studie is om die veiligheidskultuur by instandhoudingsingenieurs in een van die vernaamste lugrederye in Suid-Afrika te assesseer. ’n Literatuurstudie en ’n empiriese studie is uitgevoer. Die literatuurstudie is gerig op die aspekte van veiligheidsbestuur en die rol van menslike faktore in lugvaartinstandhouding en die bydrae daarvan tot ’n veiligheidskultuur. Die Lugvaart Tegniese Veiligheidskultuuropname (ATSCS – Airways Technical Safety Culture Survey) is aan al die instandhoudingsingenieurs by ’n groot Suid-Afrikaanse lugredery versprei. Die data wat van 113 respondente ontvang is, is geïnterpreteer en toe ontleed met behulp van die SPSS statistiese sagtewarepakket. Eerstens is die response op die sewe skale van die ATSCS ondersoek om te bepaal of die data vir faktorontleding geskik is. Hoofasfaktorontleding is met behulp van SPSS op die data toegepas, met ’n Varimax-rotasie om vas te stel watter faktore saambondel. Die betroubaarheid van die skale is bepaal deur Chronbach se koëffisiënt alfa te gebruik. Die gemiddelde van gemiddeldes van die gekorrigeerde korrelasies tussen die items van elke skaal is ook bereken om die interne homogeniteit en uni-dimensionaliteit van die verskillende skale te ondersoek. Daarna is die items aan itemontleding onderwerp. Die gemiddelde, standaard afwyking, skeefheid en kurtosis is vir die steekproeftellings van die ATSCS bereken. Die invloed en effek van die biografiese veranderlikes op die instandhoudingsingenieurs se ingesteldheid teenoor veiligheid is bepaal deur die response van verskillende werknemerondergroepe met mekaar te vergelyk met behulp van t-toetse en ANOVA. Die resultate van die t-toetse het aan die lig gebring dat etnisiteit ’n statisties beduidende uitwerking op die veiligheidsingesteldheid het ten opsigte van die bestuur se ingesteldheid teenoor veiligheid en veiligheidsopleiding. Die effek se groottes is bereken om die krag van die verwantskap te bepaal, en daar is bevind dat dit ’n medium effek het. Die ANOVA-resultate dui aan dat opleiding, geografiese ligging en vlootkwalifikasie geen uitwerking op die veiligheidsingesteldheid van die universum het nie. ’n ANOVA van die werkarea het egter aan die lig gebring dat die belangrikste instandhoudingswerkarea beduidend van die ander twee groepe verskil ten opsigte van vyf areas van die Veiligheidskultuuropname (ATSCS). Laastens was die oorkoepelende response van die meerderheid deelnemers aan hierdie studie baie positief ten opsigte van die sewe kernfaktore wat met ingesteldheid teenoor veiligheid verband hou. Daar word voorgestel dat toekomstige ondersoeke van hierdie aard ’n groter steekproef van kruis-kulturele lugrederye in die globale bedryf inkorporeer. Dit sal die eksterne geldigheid van die huidige studie bevestig en die oordrag van bevindinge aan ander instandhoudingsingenieurs ondersteun.

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