Rob Dixon, Director, Pilotwise International Ltd.
Rob was a senior officer in the RAF serving from 1992 to 2014. He flew a multitude of types, but his main operational experience came on Puma and Merlin helicopters. He has time in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia and Northern Ireland. Rob was lead tactics instructor and head of tactics and training for all Joint Helicopter Command battlefield helicopters during Iraq and Afghan conflicts, was Chief Scenario in the Exercise Division of NATO’s Joint Warfare Centre and was head of safety, training, assurance and regulation for the RAF’s fast jet and ISTAR fleets. Since the RAF, Rob has been a director in Pilotwise International Ltd. that provides training design and support to air forces and organisations around the world. Rob is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and has an MSc in Human Factors and Safety Management from Cranfield University, conducting his thesis work in organisational safety culture. In his spare time he is a father to two children, a school governor and enjoys hill-walking, travel and playing football and watching the (ex-) mighty Nottingham Forest.
The Challenges of Achieving Effective Safety Culture in Distributed and Autonomous Environments
The last 100 years have seen effort and progress in establishing and maintaining elements of a safety culture in organisations operating in dynamic, complex and technical environments in safety-critical sectors such as aerospace, medicine and first-response. Here, effective training is essential for organisational resilience and as a barrier to mishap (where there is risk of harm and/or enhanced societal scrutiny), as well as operational improvement.
Initial efforts recognised issues and established knowledge, awareness and procedures at worker level, though relatively recently most organisations have understood that safety systems can only be truly effective when the knowledge and, more importantly, the behaviours emanate from the top. Supporting training must also provide the Accountable Manager with surety that all students have satisfied all learning objectives, where these include attitudes/behaviour as well as skills and knowledge.
There are pedagogical, financial and time advantages of incorporating distributed learning into appropriate phases of training programmes, but there are challenges facing training designers/providers. Are these to:
- identify the important factors in a modern, distributed workforce
- integrate autonomous entities
- then determine how to structure and deliver training to achieve a genuinely generative safety system by inculcation of a ‘just culture’ throughout a traditionally hierarchical structure?