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Overview This discussion of literature focuses on the following concepts: â¢ Organizational culture, â¢ Safety in industrial and transportation settings, â¢ Definition of safety culture, and â¢ Relationship between the safety culture and the trucking and motorcoach industries. Within the motor carrier discussion is an analysis of how individual parts of such organizations, including leadership, safety managers, and drivers, create and interact with an organizationâs safety culture. Defining Organizational Culture Throughout the literature, organizational culture is gener- ally defined as the norms, attitudes, values, and beliefs held by members of an organization. There are, however, many vari- ations and slight additions to this definition. Manuele (1997) includes other concepts in the definition, such as âlegends, rituals, mission, goals, performance meas- ures, and [a] sense of responsibility to employees, customers, and community, all of which are translated into a system of expected behavior,â adding that all these (including the previously mentioned four qualities) are translated into something that describes the culture of an organization. Cameron and Quinn (1999) refer to organizational culture as something that . . . reflects the prevailing ideology that people carry inside their heads. It conveys a sense of identity to employees, provides unwritten and, often, unspoken guidelines for how to get along in the organization, and enhances the stability of the social system that they experience . . . It is simply undetectable most of the time. Thus, a collection of individually held norms, attitudes, values, and beliefs, when organized âunder one roof,â creates an overriding culture that is defined by those norms, atti- tudes, values, and beliefs that prevail. Beyond what is typically thought of as an organization, which is often in the form of a corporation, institution, or gov- ernment agency, it is suggested in the literature that organiza- tional practices are heavily influenced by outside cultures, such as nationality (Hofstede 1983) and occupation (Helmreich in press). In basic terms, it is thought by this research that nationality and occupation itself can act as an organization. Leadership and Management A key set of culture-defining positions within an organiza- tion are those involving leadership and management. Employees in such roles attempt to guide the organization and the behavior of its members through the use of tools, including official policies, rewards and remediation, planning and decision making. The tasks of those in this position rely heavily on communications. In many large organizations, for instance, top leadership must develop an organizationâs cul- ture not solely through one-on-one discourse, but through mass communications such as email, memos, official policies, and large-scale speaking engagements and teleconferences. While many authors cite leadership as having a key role in organizational culture, it is noted that a large emphasis has been placed on enhancement of leadership methods rather than on enhancement of organizational culture through leadership (Roughton and Mercurio 2002; Schein 2004). Safety, Risk, and Loss Defining Safety The term âsafetyâ describes a condition where adverse events and hazards are avoided, and barriers are erected to prevent future occurrences or interactions with such events or hazards. In the workplace, safety can describe the act of avoiding being the victim of or the cause of âaccidents.â C H A P T E R 2 Literature Review 6
7Using the term âaccident,â however, is thought by some to be inappropriate when describing failures in safety. Such a term places the responsibility for safety, risk, and loss on someone or something other than those employees and other persons directly involved in unsafe behavior (Van Fleet 2000). Using the term âaccident,â and similar terms, is accordingly deemed a language myth, which may undermine safety culture within an organization. Van Fleet defines three key categories of âaccident mythsâ that are part of an organizationâs culture and that allow for individuals and groups to avoid accountability for safety fail- ures. The first myth, termed the âforce of nature accident mythâ is one that applies directly to motor vehicle incidents and places responsibility in the hands of weather rather than in human behavior. The ânon-accident accident mythâ removes individuals from responsibility for injuries or losses by placing blame on something, where something is anything but the indi- vidual who is responsible. This might relate to motor car- riers in a situation where a driver makes the choice to speed to meet a delivery window. If that driver speeds, creating an unsafe environment and reaches the destination without incident, the unsafe environment is not referred to by the driver as an accident. When the unintended consequences of such activities occur (i.e., the speeding driver crashes), however, the driver may respond by stating it was an acci- dent. This has the effect of, first, convincing the myth user that the accident (crash) could not have been prevented and, second, it removes accountability, and subsequently, undermines accident evaluation and the safety improve- ment process. The final accident myth defined by Van Fleet is the âcom- mon accident myth,â which contains four components: chance accidents, unplanned accidents, unforeseen accidents, and unavoidable accidents. All four components within this myth, as is the case with the first two myths, suggest that acci- dents cannot be prevented or avoided. Organizations that are not safe may accept such myths, but in industries that have high risks and potential for loss regard- ing safety such as the motor carrier industries, improper use of terms may undermine or prevent the development of a safe culture. Therefore, clear definitions of what a culture of safety is attempting to achieve are necessary. In discussing such language myths and their use among motor carriers, Reagle (1997) criticizes use of the word acci- dent. He states âcontinued use of the word âaccidentâ implies that these events are outside human influence or control. In reality, they are predictable results of specific actions.â He continues that more appropriate terms include crash, collision, and injury, stating that the regulatory arm of the motor carrier industry would no longer use the term accident. Just as safety goals must be defined, it is also crucial to define the causes of a crash or other loss. One attempt at this is the Swiss cheese model, which outlines the cause of a crash through descriptions of breached safety barriers (Rea- son 1998). The concept defines safety barriers, which are depicted as slices or layers of Swiss cheese, as measures that typically prevent crashes. The barriers, however, have holes or weaknesses. If the holes in a series of slices/barriers come into alignment, according to the theory, a crash can occur. A simple example of Reasonâs model for the motor carrier industries might involve three barriers such as (1) CMV driver training, (2) CMV maintenance, and (3) highway safety practices of the general public (see Figure 1). If a situ- ation arises where deficiencies or âholesâ in driver training, the quality of maintenance, and a non-commercial userâs ability to safely interact with commercial vehicles come in alignment, a crash will occur. Building on this theory, a solu- tion may be for those employees that are at risk to âlearnâ safety or safe behavior to close the holes in Reasonâs Swiss cheese barriers. The research of Gherardi et al. (1998) offers that âpeople in organizations do not learn âsafetyâ [but] learn safe working practices.â The authors state Practical knowledge of what is safe and . . . dangerous is . . . a stock of knowledgeâboth tacit and explicitâwhich is stored and transmit- ted within the community of practice and constitutes its power base vis-Ã -vis other communities that depend on it in the production cycle. It is principally participation in [a community of practice] which provides access to this practical knowledge and makes its competent use possible. This discussion reveals that safety in the motor carrier operator environment may belong, in part, to communities and not entirely to the organization itself. Following the com- munity theory, a motor carrier has communities within organizations and outside organizations, such as the com- munity known as âdriversâ and the community known as âsafety managers.â Following Gherardiâs logic, there is also an importance placed on practicing an occupation over a significant period of time, such as practicing the occupation of truck driver to learn and build on what behaviors are safe and what behaviors are not safe. Safety training does have a place, of course, but experience is critical according to this analysis. Determining why loss occurs and how to predict future loss is also discussed in the literature. Mearns et al. (2001) find that the best predictor of loss and near loss is nothing beyond simple âunsafe behavior.â The Murray et al. research likewise shows the predictive qualities of past âunsafe behav- iorâ by connecting historic CMV moving violations with the likelihood of future crashes.
It should also be noted that the Mearns research suggests that the reason behind unsafe behavior is âperceptions of pressure for production.â Thus, the goals of production and profit do not align with those of safety. Safety and Scale of Loss The literature on safety and loss tends to focus on single industrial disasters of great magnitude, such as Bhopal (Union Carbide chemical disaster) and Chernobyl (nuclear power plant disaster). The term safety culture was actually derived through the investigation of the causes of Chernobyl. The trucking and motorcoach industries are not typically directly involved or at risk for involvement within such widescale disasters. While it is true that tens of thousands of individuals are killed and injured each year in automobile and truck crashes, the overall national and international impact derived from each crash instance is minimal and does not receive the degree of national or worldwide attention that a major failure such as an industrial accident that kills thou- sands receives (Dwyer 1991). Crashes are also commonplace; the consequences of crashes (injuries and fatalities) may desensitize the public. While it may be the case that a widescale loss typically gains greater public attention, truck and bus crashes are a major concern among highway safety professionals, those outside of industry who are directly involved in such acci- dents, and the motor carriers themselves. The U.S. DOT statistics show that the rate of fatal crashes per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT) has decreased from a peak of 5.21 in the late 1970s to 1.99 in 2003 as shown in Figure 2.1 However, large truck travel has continued to increase and the actual number of fatalities that result from crashes involving large trucks has not declined as significantly. In the last 5 years, trucks involved in fatal crashes numbered nearly 5,000 annually, while the number of buses involved in fatal crashes remained close to 300 annually. It should be noted, however, that VMT traveled by trucks annually is far greater than that traveled by buses.2 Safety Culture: Definitions and Applications to the Motor Carrier Industries The norms, attitudes, values, and beliefs of organizations define the culture of an organization and are manifested in the behaviors of its agents. For many organizations, safety and loss prevention are of the highest concern. This is especially true for organizations that operate in and/or create hazardous environments as part of typical business operations. Such 8 Figure 1. Example of Reasonâs Swiss cheese model applied to CMV safety. 1 Large Truck Crash Facts 2003, FMCSA, Publication Number FMCSA-RI-04- 033, 2003. 2 National Summary of Large Trucks and Buses Involved in Crashes, 2001â2005, Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, U.S. Department of Transporta- tion, 2006. Available online: http://ai.volpe.gov/CrashProfile/n_overview.asp
hazardous environments exist internally (e.g., chemical plant) and externally (e.g., transportation-related industries). Within an organization, culture will influence individuals and individuals will define the culture. The following review of safety culture-related literature attempts to clarify this connection across several industries, with an emphasis on trucking and motorcoach operations. Definition of Safety Culture Uttal (1983) defines organizational culture and, intuitively, its relationship to safety as follows: Shared values (what is important) and beliefs (how things work) that interact with an organizationâs structures and control systems to produce behavioral norms (the way we do things around here). Thus, when analyzing an organizationâs culture of safety under these criteria (and using a definition that existed prior to the term safety culture itself), three main questions might emerge for any organization concerned with safety: â¢ Who develops, defines, and communicates shared values regarding safety in a work environment? â¢ What are the internal policies and procedures (i.e., beliefs) that create a culture of safety? â¢ How do the values and beliefs regarding safety interact with other organizational values and beliefs, and how do they become standard practice throughout? Such questions were likely not asked by operators of a Ukrainian nuclear power plant prior to the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. This event is credited with defining the term safety culture as well as exemplifying a working envi- ronment that lacked a culture of safety. Several onsite events led to the meltdown of the Chernobyl reactor, but longer term issues were central to the disaster itself. Inves- tigators determined that there existed a lack of an overall âsafety cultureâ: inadequate and unsafe reactor construc- tion created a dangerous operating environment, standard operating procedures were not followed, and systems of communicating safety-related information were ineffective (Nuclear Energy Agency 2002). Ostrom et al. (1993) notes that even prior to the Chernobyl disaster catalyst, researchers were well aware of the relation- ship between safety and culture and understood that, within an organization, âsafety performance is affected by [a given groupâs] socially transmitted beliefs and attitudes towards safety.â Such beliefs were said to be manifested in an organi- zationâs actions, policies, and procedures. But as the post-Chernobyl investigation took on an interna- tional scale, some standardization of the connections between safety and culture began to manifest. Sorensen (2002) cites the full course of development of the term âsafety cultureâ through a synthesis of several years of International Nuclear Safety Advisory Group (INSAG 1991) investigations into the Cher- nobyl disaster. The INSAG-4 report defines safety culture as That assembly of characteristics and attitudes in organizations and individuals which establishes that, as an overriding priority, . . . safety issues receive the attention warranted by their significance. (INSAG 1991) 9 Figure 2. Fatal truck crashes and fatal truck crashes per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.
The INSAG-4 continues its definition of the term, stating that safety culture flows from top to bottom, with senior management being essential to an organizationâs safety cul- ture, and official policies and objectives regarding safety being a critical indicator of an organizationâs safety culture. The report also offers an outline of how one should deter- mine if a safety culture exists in the operation of nuclear power plants, with the criteria for judgment relating to the following (all of which can be related to and used by motor carriers): â¢ Environment created by management â¢ Attitudes of personnel at all levels â¢ Safety record of the organization Harvey (2002) takes the criteria a step further, concluding that âsafety culture is viewed as involving perceptions and atti- tudes, as well as the behavior of individuals, within an organi- zation.â This is a reference to the perceptions of risk in the operating environment, attitudes held among members of the organization at all levels, and the behaviors of those operating on behalf of an organization. Thus, it can be concluded that individuals are responsible for their own safety results, while still maintaining an important role in the safety of others through their influence on other members of an organization. Harvey also finds a link between work and non-work envi- ronments, which might be exemplified by those who bring safety values from home to the environment at work. Regard- ing the motor carrier environment, Bergoffen et al. (2005) indicate such behavior among truck drivers that use safety belts at work and when driving their personal cars. It was found that among those drivers that used safety belts, top rea- sons for doing so were not related to work. The reasons included being in or seeing a bad accident (while not driving a truck) and the driver was being influenced directly or indi- rectly by his children and other members of his family. Swartz et al. (2000) differentiates the idea of organizational culture from the unique quality of âsafety cultureâ in the fol- lowing manner: Every organization has a cultureâa set of written and unwritten rules and assumptions that determine how things are done. How- ever, not every culture is a safety culture dedicated to the health and safety of all employees. Safety culture becomes a quality that an organization does or does not possess. Swartz offers the National Safety Councilâs 14 Elements of a Successful Safety and Health Program (National Safety Council 1998) as a tool to build a safety culture within an organization. These include organi- zational actions and functions that â¢ Recognize, evaluate, and control hazards; â¢ Design and engineer safe workplaces; â¢ Manage safety performance; â¢ Manage regulatory compliance; â¢ Address occupational health; â¢ Collect safety-related information; â¢ Incorporate and involve employees at all levels; â¢ Motivate employees and positively modify their behavior and attitudes; â¢ Train employees and orient them with new procedures and equipment; â¢ Communicate safety-related information; â¢ Manage and control external exposures; â¢ Manage external environments; â¢ Integrate safety into hiring and placement processes; and â¢ Measure the performance of safety-related activities. Some sources define transportation safety as it pertains to motor carriers through their relationship to three factors: those pertaining to carrier behavior (which are actions taken on behalf of carrier operations), societal norms (which are reflected in government regulation) and situational factors (which are the âuncontrollable factorsâ that exist in the trans- portation system) (Mejza et al. 2003). Accordingly, a carrier safety culture may in part address factors that include the behaviors of those operating on behalf of the carrier, adherence to government regulations on the carrier, and preparation for and avoidance of factors that cannot be greatly controlled. Von Thaden et al. (2003) define five global components of safety culture based on a synthesis of previous research. It includes the following: â¢ Organizational Commitment: This commitment to safety is defined by upper level management and is manifested in use of safety as a core value in the long term. â¢ Management Involvement: This is contingent on manage- mentâs physical approach to safety. Are upper and middle management, for instance, directly involved in safety meet- ings or in safety oversight? â¢ Reward System: This addresses how safety-related behav- ior is evaluated and rewarded or corrected. â¢ Employee Empowerment: This pertains to the responsibil- ity placed on employees by upper management and the degree to which that responsibility empowers or motivates employees to have safe behavior. â¢ Reporting System: Such systems evaluate and intend to improve safety. Finally, Gherardi finds the contrary. His research suggests that a safety culture is defined/embodied in a professionâs collective expertise and knowledge and is expressed through âbeliefs, norms, expectations, and tacit coordination with other safety practicesâ within an organization. Accordingly, a specific type of task may have its own safety culture. 10
Relevant examples of such tasks may involve those who operate hazmat tank truck versus those who haul general freight. Likewise, those who drive trucks as a profession may have a different safety culture than those who manage truck drivers. Groups That Define a Motor Carrierâs Safety Culture Research finds that there is a tendency to have a variation in safety culture within organizations at different physical locations as well as within subgroups of organizations (e.g., managers/drivers) (Harvey 2002). Building on this thought, leadership and management groups have been separated from drivers in the following motor carrier specific safety cul- ture review of existing literature and research. Top Leadership, Safety Professionals, and Safety Departments Reason states that âa safety culture depends critically upon first negotiating where the line should be drawn between unacceptable behavior and blameless unsafe actsâ (GAIN 2004). This line should, of course, not be drawn by each individual but should instead be set through policy by top leadership. Such âline drawingâ is the essence of the role of leadership in creating a safety culture. What leaders decide is âacceptable for the prevention and control of hazards is a reflection of [an organizationâs] cul- tureâ (Manuele 1997). Therefore, what is considered âtoler- ableâ is determined at the highest levels of an organization. However, a key difficulty faced by motor carrier leadership and management in preventing crashes and controlling hazards is that they are not physically present during normal core operations. Delivery of goods or people from Point A to Point B, where the distance between the two points is an external environment, is a difficult risk environment to control and standard techniques often do not apply. While such difficulties may exist, it has been determined that safety management practices have a bearing on safety outcomes, with findings indicating that âclose calls,â crashes, and driver fatigue can be reduced by management practices, even while management and drivers are normally out of direct contact with one another (Morrow and Crum 2004). The researchers also find that dispatchers work against the efforts of safety professionals (and their efforts to establish a culture of safety), citing their tendency to pressure drivers to operate when tired and more susceptible to crashes and âclose calls.â It is stated that more research is needed regarding the dispatcher/driver relationship with regard to safety. Nonethe- less, a key lesson from this research is that different divisions of management must coordinate when an organization wishes to develop its safety culture and that, according to Simon (2000), the safety function within this collaboration must move beyond basic technical expertise and act as a change agent. Drivers Truck driver culture is anecdotally tied to images of âthe open roadâ and âindependence.â This independence is exem- plified by those in the long-haul trucking profession. Drivers have a great level of responsibility: they are âresponsible for safety, on-time delivery, customer relations, equipment break- downs, and . . . insurance rates, all of which have bottom-line consequences for motor carriersâ (McElroy et al. 1993). Safety is listed first in the quote, but many factors lead to the actual prioritization of safety among a driverâs other responsibilities. Safety Beliefs and Attitudes of Drivers There is a clear linkage between attitude and general behavior in the literature (Harvey 2002; Sorensen 2002). However, according to Sorensen, there is a scarcity of sta- tistical evidence to link safety culture, specifically workforce attitudes towards safety, with actual safety performance. One example is found in McElroy et al.âs examination of truckload carrier driver attitudes and their relationship to length of driving career and typical trip duration. A sample size of nearly 3,400 employee drivers indicated a somewhat alarming relationship between career drivers and negative attitudes: the longer a driverâs career was, the more negative that driverâs attitudes were, especially regarding the work in general, the income, and career advancement.3 It is clear that such attitudes may have impacts on safety and, at the very least, have an impact on driver retention. It may be assumed that with all other variables remaining equal, when a skill such as truck driving is practiced regularly a driver will gain experience, thus making him a better driver. If, however, the attitude of a driver becomes negative as the driver gains experience (including safety experience), safety itself will likely be viewed in a negative light. Stability of Driver Labor Pool and Safety Driver retention is perennially a top trucking industry issue (Beilock and Capelle 1990; ATRI 2005). With a lack of retention among the driving population comes a lack of sta- bility, which in turn affects a companyâs culture. A safety cul- ture, as stated repeatedly throughout the literature, does not occur instantly. Employees (e.g., drivers) must be, over the long term, part of an organizationâboth developing and 11 3 Owner-Operator respondents were excluded.
learning its culture. Likewise, an organization must have a culture in place to teach new members its norms, attitudes, values, and beliefs. If this culture-building process is not in place due to labor instability, then a driver may hold only the industrial sub- culture of the driving profession as he moves from carrier to carrier, which will undermine the safety culture of those carriers that are the driverâs past, present, and future employers. One key labor stability issue found in the literature is that, in comparison to other industries, there are few opportuni- ties to advance beyond the title âtruck driverâ while still actively driving (McElroy et al. 1993; Beilock 2003). One solution, which may build on the McElroy et al. research of driver attitudes, may be to involve experienced drivers in safety training. While driver attitudes were found by McElroy et al. to increase in negativity with length of career (due to a lack of advancement prospects), an experience- based safety position for drivers that demonstrates long-term satisfaction could nurture a positive attitude, allow for career advancement, and encourage safety. McElroy et al. suggests that more experienced drivers, for instance, become mentors (or safety mentors) for new recruits that can (1) take the place of professional driving schools and (2) introduce and indoc- trinate drivers to a motor carrierâs safety culture. Communicating to a Remote Workforce and the Professional Culture of the Driver Prussia et al. (2003) identify the differences between safety cultures in âinterdependentâ work environments (in this case, a steel mill) where âmembers possess substantial expe- rience working togetherâ and âmanagers and employees . . . share general mental models about the factors that contribute to unsafe behaviors [and] workplace accidentsâ and those that are not as interdependent. The authors state that organi- zations that are not tightly connected could, in fact, use the models demonstrated by the interdependent industrial work- forces to determine appropriate methods for developing a shared understanding of safety factors. It is true that motor carriers and other transportation- related industries do not have managers and drivers that work physically closely with one another. Drivers are essentially a remote workforce, often dispersed throughout the United States or even North America. Modern communications technologies have allowed for managers and drivers to become closer, though, and promises to tighten the gap more so in the future. Anecdotally, safety managers currently have the ability to view the exact location of a driver, get an instant report when a driver has a hard braking incident, and call that driverâs cell phone immediately to ask what happened. Tech- nology may therefore be one solution to the remote work- force issue. Issues, however, may arise when the driver workforce (1) does not identify with other professional cultures within the organization they operate in and (2) identifies strictly with the professional culture under which they operate. Gherardiâs investigation of conflicting safety perspectives within an organization offers the concept of subgroups, termed âcommunities of practice.â These communities and the safety cultures that direct each overlap through participa- tion in the larger organizationâs production cycle. Through research of managers and employees, the cause of accidents was found to be different by each. In determining accident cause, regular employees (engineers) believed that a lack of organizational control and economic/time constraints led to a lack of respect for safety, which led to human error and then to an accident. The managers (construction site managers) found that a lack of organizational control and lack of safety norms led directly to accidents, as well as a third factorâ poor workforce professionalism led to management difficul- ties, which led to accidents. Thus, a disconnect is shown between the views of management and regular employees. In the case of remote workforces such as truck and bus drivers, this disconnect may be even greater. Alvesson (2002) also discusses the concepts of industrial sub-cultures and isomorphism, which, in lay terms, is related to cultural norms that are developed by macro groups (e.g., truck drivers) within even larger groups (the trucking industry). Helmreich (in press) discusses professional or occupa- tional culture as it pertains to pilots. There are positive influences within professions (such as aviators or CMV operators) which include professional pride and may be manifested through ârecognizable physical characteristics,â such as equipment (e.g., airplane types and truck types), but there are negatives in aviation (and other professions) which are said by Helmreich to include a sense of invulnerability (i.e., a âmachoâ attitude). This may also afflict CMV driver profession, especially trucking. Many drivers simply do not feel they need to use potentially life-saving equipment, such as seat belts (Bergoffen et al.). Driving a truck or a bus is a unique profession that requires specific training. To receive a CDL, one must go through spe- cific training and pass certain tests, including those related to intoxicating substances. These are the norms and values that make up the profession, and if the rules that govern such licensing and testing are broken and disregarded then a CMV driver may no longer be permitted to practice his or her pro- fession (Schein 2004). 12
Developing a Culture of Safety within a Motor Carrier Pidgeon (1997), in concluding that the cultures of organi- zations are often blind to emerging/new threats to safety and that there is a need to mitigate this âblindness,â states that While safety and culture do seem to hold an intimate relationship, the later should be invoked only as one part of a wider critique of organizational politics and performance: the only thing for certain, then, about a safety culture is that one can never assume we have a good one in every respect. There are not specific inputs that can be used in generating outputs that are regular or predictable. Likewise, what a good culture is and what a bad culture is are not easily defined. Schein dismisses many pervasive styles of evaluating an orga- nizationâs culture stating that [Many] usages of the word culture display not only a superficial and incorrect view of culture, but also a dangerous tendency to evaluate particular cultures in an absolute way and to suggest that there actually are ârightâ cultures for organizations . . . [but] whether or not a culture is âgoodâ or âbad,â âfunctionally effectiveâ or not, depends not on the culture alone, but on the relationship of the culture to the environment in which it exists. While researchers, analysts, and practitioners cannot rea- sonably state that one carrier has a âgoodâ safety culture and one has a âbadâ safety culture, it is possible, using Scheinâs analysis, to evaluate the parts that make up a carrierâs safety culture and determine what practices work and what prac- tices do not. This is especially true of motor carrier safety cul- ture as it relates to the environments mentioned by Schein. It is a carrierâs core business function to move goods or people between points that are often external from the organization and that are separated by vast areas of public roadways. Thus, appropriate driver and carrier behavior in such an environ- ment is one indicator of a good safety culture. On the topic of specific safety culture qualities, research in the field of oil tanker piloting (Brown and Haugene 1998) concluded that several management and organizational fac- tors (MOFs), when implemented properly, reduce the prob- ability of grounding a tanker by 99% and therefore increase safety and develop safety culture. The researchers identify 11 performance shaping factors (PSFs), many of which can be used by the trucking and motor- coach industries. Relevant to this research are the following: â¢ Inattention to tasks and responsibilities. â¢ Lack of motivation to perform well. â¢ Poor physical condition (resulting in fatigue and other physical problems). â¢ Inadequate knowledge of procedures, standards, and regulations. â¢ Lack of awareness of responsibilities. The researchers also identify several critical MOFs that are defined by safety culture and that directly affect the PSFs. Of the 16 listed by Brown and Haugene, the following are most relevant to the trucking industry: â¢ Workload: Policies, procedures, and practices for assign- ing driver workloads. â¢ Formalization: Identification and communication of safety rules. â¢ Benefits: Levels of pay and other benefits. â¢ Quality of Life: In general, a driverâs standard of living. â¢ Performance Evaluation: How is the driverâs safety per- formance evaluated? â¢ Personnel Selection: Who is hired? â¢ Personnel Turnover: Results in drivers that have little experience with an organization. â¢ Training: The level of safety-related education. â¢ Supervision: What type of oversight exits? â¢ Organizational Learning: How well is past data used to affect future safety? â¢ Communications: How effective are informal or formal communications? More specific to the trucking industry, Arboleda et al. (2003) state the following in discussing safety culture: A homogeneous perception of safety is important for the achieve- ment of a strong safety culture: however, employees may differ in their safety perceptions, depending on their position and/or hierarchical level within the organization. In U.S. interstate trucking, the external environment includes thousands of local governments, 48+ state govern- ments, and at least one national government. In the United States, this environment also includes tens of millions of individual property owners, whose land, vehicles, and struc- tures may be affected by unsafe motor carrier behavior. Even beyond the safety of property, personal safety is at stake as was described in the aforementioned fatality statistics. While some of the literature (Pidgeon) begins with the premise that it is difficult to specifically define or differenti- ate between what is a good and what is a bad safety culture, Ostrom et al. (1993) cite criteria for a âgoodâ safety culture. They begin by outlining two examples of safety norms: the first being a good norm where accident reporting is rewarded and the second being bad norms, found in instances where safety solutions are no longer sought. The following are cited as norms found in good safety culture qualities: â¢ Alert employees that seek and use safety-related information. â¢ Organizations that reward safe behaviors and attitudes. â¢ Participation in safety policy and procedure at all levels of the company. â¢ Ongoing data collection and analysis of safety-related events. 13
Communicating a Safety Culture Distinct groups within organizations, such as drivers and their managers, may have high levels of conflict with one another because communications are either not effective or non-existent (Schein, p. 10). In research of safety culture at a nuclear power plant, Carroll (in press) found that communi- cations in both directions within the hierarchy were not effective and resulted in an organization whose employees did not entirely and consistently understand âsafety.â Hiring Practices A carrierâs safety culture and carrier safety in general can be greatly affected in the hiring portion of the planning func- tion. The drivers that carriers use to represent them in the external environment (in which most operational activities occur) are a focus for many safe carriers. This is exemplified through research of 148 carriers deemed to be among the industryâs safest. Mejza determined the im- portance of specific hiring practices related to non-personality traits, hiring of owner-operators, and personality traits. The most important non-personality traits considered in the hir- ing process were (1) history of alcohol/drug-related crashes, (2) chargeable crashes, (3) violations related to speeding, (4) other moving violations, and (5) prior driving experience. Also apparent is that safe carriers who hire owner-operators and employee drivers apply the same hiring criteria to both groups. Finally, several personality traits of applicants were ranked by importance, with the following in-order rankings tested among those traits deemed âimportantâ: (1) honesty/ reliability, (2) self-discipline, (3) self-motivation, and (4) pa- tience. âSociability,â or the potential ability of applicants to interact with others was found to be less important. Murray et al. (2005) developed and tested an analytical model for predicting crash involvement for drivers based on prior driving history. An analysis of data on more than 500,000 drivers over a 3-year time period showed reckless driving and improper turn violations as the two associated with the highest increase in likelihood of a future crash. Like- wise, four driver conviction categories offered the highest likelihood of future crashes: (1) improper/erratic lane change, (2) failure to yield, (3) improper turn, and (4) failure to maintain proper lane. Results showed that a conviction in any of these four categories led to a 91 to 100% increase in the probability of a future crash. Training and Driver Retention Dobie and Glisson (2005) hypothesize that because drivers often may not see the connection between training and pro- fessional advancement, this causes drivers to seek advance- ment at other carriers, thus shortening employee history with companies. The solution, according to the authors, is to retain drivers by creating a connection between training (or the skills learned through training) and career advancement. Though retention is the central issue in Dobie and Glisson, there are several major components of their analysis that tie directly to safety culture. First, safety is a central theme in driver training, if not the core topic. Creating a connection for drivers from safety training to career advancement allows for safety training, and in theory, safety itself, to correlate directly with benefits such as schedules, route choice, com- pensation, and other benefits. Second, retention itself could make the investment in driver training more valuable, and could therefore augment the amount of safety training that is conducted industrywide. Safety Management of Drivers Management of safety critical workforces must often take place at the micro level (or, as suggested in the survey portion of this synthesis, at the front-line manager level). Mejza describes the safety-related behaviors of carriers as related in part to driver performances, but more importantly related to the management of drivers, which is defined as the âactivities a carrier performs to enable its drivers to detect and avoid potentially dangerous situations.â Driver management itself is placed into four categories for the purposes of this research: hiring practices, training, driver support, and driver motivation. Driver Incentives for Safe Behavior The general concept of a safety incentive program is to reward drivers (typically monetarily) for meeting certain safety criteria over a specified period of time. Canadian research has indicted that, for trucking compa- nies, both increased safety and profitability can result from the implementation of a safety incentive program aimed at driver behavior, and such results can be increased to a greater level through the monitoring and reengineering of existing incentives programs (Ray Barton Associates et al. 1998). The research also suggests that benefits may include reduction in driver turnover problems. This research suggests that the following safety programs exist in close conjunction with a standard monetary-based safety incentive program: â¢ Management demonstration of safety commitment â¢ Driver awards and recognition programs â¢ Effective communication within a company â¢ Ongoing safety meetings and training Just how prevalent such programs are is not certain. A con- venience sample of 238 truck drivers indicated that only 3% had 14
safety rewards or incentives as part of their employment (Bergoffen). The Canadian research indicates that carriers would like research that offers a better picture of the use of incentives for safe behaviors, as well as best practices and a determination of industry norms (Ray Barton Associates et al.). Safety Audits and Safety Performance Measures The safety performance record of drivers is clearly the most critical aspect of their influence on and adherence to a companyâs safety culture. Cox and Cox (1991) suggest that âconstructive attitudesâ among employees is the most critical performance measurement of a safety culture. Measuring such a qualitative aspect of employees may be difficult, but there are several aspects that are quantifiable and are collected and analyzed through safety audits and in the form of safety performance measures. Swartz (2000b) offers guidelines for designing a safety audit program, first stating that the following categories should be the focus: â¢ Safety program administration â¢ Hazards control â¢ Training â¢ Industrial hygiene and health â¢ Recordkeeping and workersâ compensation â¢ Communications and awards The literature refers to many instances of data collection for the purposes of developing a safety culture. Ostrom et al. cite instances of verbal and written data collection from employees and others who interact with an organization regarding the general topic of safety. Specifically outlined is the Johnson & Johnson model (Safety Outreach System) whereby the following types of questions are asked: â¢ What worries you the most about your safety? â¢ What hazards do you see here in the work place? â¢ Where is the next accident going to occur? â¢ What can we do to prevent it? Ostrom et al. developed and tested a surveyâthe EG&G Idaho Safety Norm Surveyâto assess the safety culture of several Department of Energy facilities. This survey offered 84 statements (within 13 categories) and asked respondents to address each on a 5-point agree/disagree scale. Statements were categorized under Safety Awareness, Teamwork, Pride & Commitment, Excellence, Honesty, Communications, Leadership & Supervision, Innovation, Training, Customer Relations, Procedure Compliance, Safety Effectiveness, and Facilities. Many of the 13 categories are difficult to relate to the motorcoach industries, including Teamwork in a lone worker environment and Facilities, which often play a small role in a driverâs work. The von Thaden research of survey methods allowed all levels of an airline the opportunity to assess the âfive global componentsâ of safety culture (see the Definition of Safety Culture subsection). A similar, customized survey tool could potentially be used to assess the safety culture of a motor carrier by measuring perceptions of Organizational Commitment, Management Involvement, Reward Systems, Employee Empowerment, and Reporting Systems. Mejza describes driver performance measurements (possi- bly through a survey) as a second aspect that measures carrier behavior in relation to safety. Research suggests, however, that a survey to outline the current state of an organizationâs safety culture is not a holistic enough approach and may lead to assumptions that problems currently exist within an organi- zationâs culture. Carroll (in press) offers a four-pronged methodology for determining the state of safety culture: (1) conducting an anonymous safety culture questionnaire, (2) conducting interviews with all questionnaire respon- dents, (3) reporting questionnaire and interview results to sen- ior leadership/management, and (4) reporting results back to the entire organization. It is also important, in a culture of safety, to be able to col- lect accurate data while at the same time having a system that prevents injury through individual responsibility. Literature on patient safety suggests that cultural change within two key components is necessary for increasing safety: openness (in reporting incidents and near incidents) and accountability (Firth-Cozens 2001). These appear to require a strong bal- ancing act, however. If an individual will receive a large penalty as a result of reporting his/her own mistake, there is no incentive to do so. Likewise, without an accurate report- ing system, improvements cannot be made. This dilemma relates to the current system of tort liability faced by the motor carrier industries; in one sense complete transparency regarding accidents can benefit the performance of the entire industry because others learn from mistakes but, on the other hand, carriers may not wish to be transparent because of additional financial losses that they might incur as a result. 15