Safety Culture is not something you get or buy; it is something an organisation acquires as a product of the combined effects of Organisational Culture, Professional Culture and, often, National Culture. Safety Culture can therefore be positive, negative or neutral. Its essence is in what people believe about the importance of safety, including what they think their peers, superiors and leaders really believe about safety as a priority. It can have a direct impact on safe performance. If someone believes that safety is not really important, even temporarily, then workarounds, cutting corners, or making unsafe decisions or judgements will be the result, especially when there is a small perceived risk rather than an obvious danger.
Also for Skyguide the Safety Culture became very important, because they have the task of providing safe and efficient air navigation services. Safety remains the most important watchword, under the motto "Safety is not everything, but without safety theres is nothing".
Skyguide decided some years ago to create a central Safety department, whose head is a member of the executive board. The cen- tralisation of safety-relevant activities brings many advantages as well as certain challenges with it. One important aspect of this is the clear definition of roles and responsibilities. Through the concentration of its resources, the Safety department and its 30 specialists are able to maintain the consistency of safety-relevant activities and products at a high level.
The safety culture is a significant factor for success. All regulations, products and processes are useless if the great majority of all employees at all levels of the company do not have a good understanding of certain aspects of safety and want to promote safety. That is why it is important that safety is not considered in isolation, but as an integral part of the corpo- rate culture and is expressed every day by all employees. Here too, the Safety department tries to play a central role. It wants to develop methods, initiatives and the like that will make it possible for the company to continue to develop and to internalise the safety culture. The safety culture cannot be bought off-the- peg. It is a question of values, attitudes and the environment. The demands on it change constantly and depend to a significant extent on the development of the company in other areas.
But what challenges wait the Safety department of Skyguide in future, there are many of them. Safety does not exist in a vacuum: the demands of cost- efficiency, capacity and sustainability are equally as valid. It is a matter of integrating them together in order to find an overall opti- mum. This is at the core of the corporate cul- ture of skyguide as a High Reliability Organisation. All four aspects must be in equilibrium. A reduction of the undoubted over-complexity in the air navigation service system today will lead to an improvement in all four areas. Our safety experts try, whenever possible, to make a contribution to this end.
However, there are financial and time pressures on performance levels that can affect the man- ner in which our employees work. The safety culture must be constantly renewed and encouraged so that these pressures cannot put limitations on safety.
Many causes of the pressures are, however, to be found in the complex environment in which skyguide operates and can be influenced by the company either not at all or only indirectly with a great effort. The many varied and frequently contradictory, demands of other stakeholder groups within the aviation system, politics and the public represent great challenges.
It's clear that Skyguide is putting a lot of effort in the Safety Culture implementation in the company and the results of those efforts are showed up in the excellent safety results achieved in the past years, but as we said, the main target of safety can not be forgot and all employes and stakeholders must continue contributing for that mission.