Examining the Safety Climate of U.S Based Aviation Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) Organizations
Uhuegho, Kole Osaretin
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The primary purpose of this study was twofold: (a) to replicate Fogarty (2005) by determining if the current study’s data were consistent with Fogarty’s model involving the three constructs of Safety Climate, Psychological Strain, and Errors; and (b) to examine the extent to which the sample data supported Bandura’s (1977) reciprocal causation model involving the three corresponding dimensions of Environment, Person, and Behavior. The study used an explanatory correlational design to measure the relationships between the targeted variables associated with U.S based civilian MRO workers. Safety Climate/Environment variables included recognition, safety concern, supervision, feedback, and training; Psychological Strain/Person variables included stress and psychological distress such as depression and anxiety; and the Errors/Behavior variable was maintenance errors, which was defined as participants’ reflection on the extent to which they made maintenance errors on the job (both self-detected and those identified by their supervisors. The sample consisted of 134 volunteer MRO workers who completed all of the study’s protocols. Participants were solicited from one national MRO and several smaller MROs. The results of an SEM analysis did not support Fogarty’s (2005) model and underwent several revisions, including eliminating three of the five Safety Climate factors, before acceptable fit indices were obtained. The final model also did not have any significant paths, and unlike Fogarty’s model Psychological Strain did not significantly mediate the relationship between Safety Climate and Errors. The results of separate multiple regression analyses that examined the relationships among Bandura’s three dimensions, however, confirmed that each dimension had a significant influence on the other two. Findings suggest that improving employees’ perceptions that their MRO has a strong concern for safety issues can reduce employees’ stress and psychological distress levels, and concomitantly, both improved perceptions of safety concern and reduced stress/distress levels could lead to a reduction in maintenance errors. Other findings suggest a negative relationship between age and maintenance errors, but a positive relationship between years experience working at an MRO and maintenance errors.