Airbus: Different work-related stress prevention measures for different situations in a global aircraft manufacturer
Effort wins European Union Healthy Workplaces Good Practice Awards 2014 – 2015
In recent years, Airbus operations in France and Spain have launched a lot of new products to remain leader in the aircraft manufacturing market. Hundreds of improvement projects have been carried out which aim to boost performance and support new developments. Optimization also concerns organization changes including mergers and acquisitions.
In order to reach the desired increased performance while also taking care of the adaptation for the workers concerned, there was a need to thoroughly consider the effects of changes on working conditions and employees’ well-being, implementing adequate change management and worker involvement.
In addition, there was the need to improve work-related stress prevention by combining the Airbus Group policy requirement and local legal frames and tools.
Action taken - Airbus France
Airbus France has developed a prevention methodology which consists of assessing in an exhaustive and participative way the impact of change, which may result in psychosocial risks in the company, and drawing up key recommendations which will be transformed into an action plan.
The first step of the process consists of applying a checklist to select only the significant projects from a psychosocial risk point of view that deserve a full analysis. In a second step, the methodology involves an “impact workshop” in which participants from a variety of hierarchical levels give their inputs in an exhaustive review of human and social risks related to the project or change being assessed, based on a structured questionnaire.
The session is conducted by two qualified facilitators in which the objectives, the affected groups and any related events or projects are discussed. A systematic review is conducted of the impacts of the change on working conditions including workload, autonomy and recognition at work. The initial vulnerability of workers with respect to psychosocial risks can be assessed in parallel. A summary report is issued which synthesizes the main impacts detected and gives recommendations for each risk. The project leader then creates an action plan based on these recommendations, and this action plan is then reviewed after around three months.
This methodology has, to date, been applied around 15 times to varying projects ranging from aircraft final assembly line to IT department reorganization.
Airbus Spain regularly conducts screenings to identify groups at risk of psychosocial issues. Assessments of these groups are then conducted to diagnose problems and guide the development of corrective collective measures through workshops and feedback sessions. Identifying risk areas through screenings serves as a preventive measure, minimizing the possible occurrence of hazardous situations and mitigating the existing ones.