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Assessment of psychosocial risk factors among air traffic controllers

Altunok, Gizem
Impeccable air traffic controlling is of vital importance for air traffic management and aviation safety. Air traffic controllers, who provide advisory services to the aircraft in airspace and on the ground, usually face high level of psychological risk factors due to essence of the work. Although psychosocial risk factors among air traffic controllers have been investigated since air traffic control services were born by the first decade of the twentieth century, there is still need for further studies in this field, especially based on type of control service apart from physical working conditions. The main objective of this study is to assess psychosocial risk factors among air traffic controllers to determine the psychosocial work environment constituents which can be improved through administrative implementations. The research methodology followed in the study mainly consists of three phases as: scale development, implementation of the scale, and assessment of psychosocial risk factors. Initially a risk assessment scale predominantly based on the NIOSH Generic Job Stress Questionnaire is developed, then necessary data is gathered through questionnaires and finally exploratory factor analysis of the data was conducted and obtained results were interpreted. In total 230 air traffic controllers working in the Directorate of Air Traffic Control Center, Turkey participated in the study and data analysis was conducted by using IBM SPSS Statistics 23. Research findings revealed that working conditions of air traffic controllers is a field of study which is quite open to improvement in terms of psychosocial risks. The main novelty of this research study is to make significant contribution towards improving psychosocial working conditions of area controllers through assessment of psychosocial risk factors they are exposed to. Obtained results and recommendations are expected to raise awareness in the sector and help leading new approaches to re-arranging working patterns, thus promoting occupational health and safety of air traffic controllers and aviation safety.