How can we improve safety culture in transport organizations? A review of interventions, effects and influencing factors
Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour
The main objectives of the present study are to (a) map interventions that can be used to develop good safety culture in transport companies within road, sea, air and rail transport, (b) assess expected effects of interventions on safety culture and safety outcomes and (c) identify factors influencing safety culture change. By systematically reviewing the scientific literature, we identify 20 studies that describe and evaluate interventions to improve safety culture in road, rail, sea and air transport organizations. The review is reported according to PRISMA guidelines. The interventions studied vary widely in their comprehensiveness, but a lack of both standardized outcome measures and controlled evaluations means that it is difficult to compare different interventions, either within or across sectors. Most studies, however, report improvements in safety culture where this is measured. We find that attempts to understand the mechanisms of cultural change leading to behavioural change and improved safety performance are lacking. Although safety culture is an organizational measure, we only found one peer-reviewed study of an attempt to improve safety culture in a single air transport organization and no studies of this in the maritime sector. We conclude that on the whole the reviewed safety culture interventions seem to be effective, but comprehensive and resource demanding. We suggest that future research should develop simpler interventions by focusing on the basic requirements of safety culture change. We contribute to this by identifying four key activities (content) which seem to be common in all the reviewed interventions, and eight key factors (process) influencing the success of efforts to influence safety culture. The basic requirements of safety culture change seem to be to institutionalize joint discussions of work place hazards facilitated by manager commitment and employee involvement.