The balance between safety and productivity and its relationship with human factors and safety awareness and communication in aircraft manufacturing

Nektarios Karanikas, Damien Jose Melis, Kyriakos Kourousis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
96 Downloads (Pure)


Background: This paper presents the findings of a pilot research survey which assessed the degree of balance between safety and productivity, and its relationship with awareness and communication of human factors and safety rules in the aircraft manufacturing environment.
Methods: The study was carried out at two Australian aircraft manufacturing facilities where a Likertscale questionnaire was administered to a representative sample. The research instrument included topics relevant to the safety and human factors training provided to the target workforce. The answers were processed in overall, and against demographic characteristics of the sample population.
Results: The workers were sufficiently aware of how human factors and safety rules influence their performance and acknowledged that supervisors had adequately communicated such topics. Safety and productivity seemed equally balanced across the sample. A preference for the former over the latter was
associated with a higher awareness about human factors and safety rules, but not linked with safety communication. The size of the facility and the length and type of employment were occasionally correlated with responses to some communication and human factors topics and the equilibrium between productivity and safety.
Conclusion: Although human factors training had been provided and sufficient bidirectional communication was present across the sample, it seems that quality and complexity factors might have influenced
the effects of those safety related practices on the safety-productivity balance for specific parts of the population studied. Customization of safety training and communication to specific characteristics of employees may be necessary to achieve the desired outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-264
JournalSafety and Health at Work
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2018

Cite this