European Railway Agency - ERA

Making the railway system work better for society.


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How is the survey structured?

The survey is comprised of two main parts. The first part includes a welcome text and the profile questions that describe the respondents. The second part is a set of 48 safety statements. 

How long does it take to complete the survey?

It takes about 10 to 15 minutes to complete the survey, including the profile questions and the safety statements. There is no time limit, but we encourage the respondents to reply spontaneously. 

What distinguishes the European Rail Safety Climate Survey from other safety perception surveys?

The ERA-SCS is a standardised European tool allowing to capture the safety perception of railway professionals. It has been developed with the support of experts working in all parts of the railway system and can be used in any kind of organisation, including operational companies, manufacturers and service providers, as well as regulatory bodies.

The survey is based on the European Railway Safety Culture Model, which is a comprehensive framework to support the development of a positive safety culture within railway organisations. By using the EUSurvey interface, it is easy to access and available in all EU languages. The results will contribute to a better understanding of safety culture of European Railways.

What are the differences between a partner version and the standard version?

The standard version has been designed by the Agency to capture the safety perceptions of European railway professionals. Each response provided via this unique version will be used to improve the understanding of the safety climate of the railway sector in Europe.

The partner version is a dedicated version elaborated together with a partner – an organisation that choses to cooperate with ERA for a better understanding of their own safety climate. It contains the same standard questions and statements, but might contain additional ones added on the request of the partner. The results are not only used for the European analysis, but are made available for the partner to use as input in improvement activities. 

What support will the Agency give to survey partners?

The Agency helps the partners design their own questions to better align the survey with their needs (e.g. organisational structure). ERA also supports the partners’ communication activities by providing a dedicated communication toolkit. Indeed, the usefulness of the partner's results also depends on the response rate. Dissemination of the survey is key to increase the response rate.

Who should be involved in the customisation process of our survey?

On the partner side, the person or the team involved in the customisation should understand the basic concepts of safety culture and safety management, as well as have an understanding of the organisation’s structure and internal communication channels.

How long should our survey be open as a partner?

It depends on the organisation, its size, structure and the communication plan. One week might be sufficient for a small company, but larger ones can take up to 2 months. In any case, the decision should be made in order to allow the highest response rate.

Why is it important that as many railway professionals as possible complete the survey?

On a level of an organisation, the bigger the sample, the more reliable and meaningful the survey results. Moreover, ideally, responses have to be balanced like the organisation. On the European level, the more responses there are in the survey, the better and more complete our understanding of the safety climate of European railways.

How many departments or individuals are needed to get useful conclusions?

There is no set minimum, and it also depends in the size of the organisation. A comprehensive picture requires involvement of all the department and units. Moreover, in order for ERA communicate the results to the partner organisation, we expect 9 respondents at least for each value of each question (if not, some grouping will be necessary). For more advanced analyses, more respondents are needed to ensure both anonymity and statistical reliability.

Should we include the non-safety/administrative staff?

All the staff should be involved, including the non-safety and administrative personnel. The profile questions are designed to include such respondents.

Should we integrate the contractors?

Yes, it is highly advised, especially if they provide products and services which can impact safety, directly or indirectly

Should we contact the trade unions?

Yes, as union representatives contribute to the safety of all staff. In addition, they may promote the involvement of staff in the activity and help achieve a high response rate.

My organisation is a partner of the ERA-SCS. Will the results of my organisation be made public?

The results of a partner version will be transmitted only to the survey coordinator of the partner organisation. The data collected inside a partner organisation will be also added to the European pool of responses, but without any reference to that specific partner organisation.

My organisation is a partner of the ERA-SCS. Will we receive a report on the results?

Yes, a digital report with the results will be provided to the survey coordinator of the partner organisation. We encourage a wide dissemination of the survey results within the partner organisation.

My organisation is a partner of the ERA-SCS. In which languages will be the results of our survey?

Most sections and visualisations of the digital report can be made available in the main survey language (selected by the survey coordinator of the partner organisation).

My organisation is a partner of the ERA-SCS. How long will it take to get our results?

The results should be made available to the survey coordinator within one month after the survey is closed. The exact date will depend on the amount of surveys finishing at a given time period. 

My organisation is a partner of the ERA-SCS. Will the results be shared with my NSA?

The Agency will not share any results of a partner with its NSA. While we encourage sharing the survey results with the NSA, this decision belongs to the partner’s organisation.

My organisation is a partner of the ERA-SCS. With whom should we share the results?

This is up to the partner: the results can be externally shared with the regulators, other companies, contractors/suppliers, customers as well as the general public.

My organisation is a partner of the ERA-SCS. How should my organisation use the results?

It is up to the organisation how to use the results. It can be an input into a safety culture action plan, a part of a risk management cycle, a start of a more structured approach to the understanding and development of safety culture, a way to discuss safety with other stakeholders in the sector, etc.