Track maintenance train operators' attitudes to job, organisation and management, and their correlation with accident/incident rate
Source: Cognition, Technology & Work, Volume 6, Number 2, May 2004 , pp. 63-78(16)
Abstract:The present paper reports the results of a questionnaire-based survey of night train operators' attitudes toward management, operating procedures, and other organisational issues that potentially impact on safety. Responses were collected from all of the operators of track maintenance trains servicing the Japanese high-speed railway (Shinkansen). Two versions of the questionnaire, the TMAQ (Train Management Attitudes Questionnaire), were developed based on Helmreich's FMAQ (Flight MAQ) and its derivative, the SMAQ (Ship MAQ). The TMAQ and its progenitor seek to elicit respondents' views of, and attitudes to, a range of safety related factors including morale, motivation, leadership and human relations in their organisation.To identify dimensions of safety culture as elicited through the TMAQ, a principal component analysis was applied to the questionnaire responses of the original TMAQ. The analysis yielded seven attitude factors, including morale and motivation. Of the seven factors, a close correlation was identified between the factor scores representing operators' morale and motivation and the actual accident/incident rates for each of the five branches belonging to a single-track maintenance company. A branch that employed train operators having relatively higher morale and motivation exhibited a lower accident/incident rate. Furthermore, the very same correlation was also found for company based responses collected from all track maintenance companies working for the high-speed railway.In addition to the branch and company based comparisons for track maintenance train operators, we also compared attitude factors between different groups of operators (drivers and supervisors), and between two different periods surveyed in a two year interval. Finally, we examined differences in terms of attitude factors between track maintenance operators and seafarers surveyed by applying slightly different variants of the same generic form of questionnaire (Helmreich's SMAQ). Based on these survey results, we discuss potential risk factors for accidents of track maintenance trains and some implications for improving railway safety.
Document Type: Research article
Publication date: 2004-05-01