Laboratory Safety Training Design and Evaluation for Aeronautical Engineering Technology Students in Part 147 Program
The FAA Part 147 program at Purdue University requires students in Aeronautical Engineering Technology (AET) major to take 1125 hours of laboratory works. Students are required to work in several different laboratory environments including airframe, powerplant, aircraft sheet metal processing, composite materials processing, electricity and electronics, non-destructive testing, aircraft system, maintenance practices and advanced manufacturing. Although course instructors emphasize laboratory safety, there is currently no pre-laboratory training for all students before they log any laboratory hours. Starting from 2004, occupational injuries and illness rates in the air transportation industry were shown to be much higher than the average for private industry (BLS, 2016). The FAA and the aviation industry have realized the importance of establishing safety training program for workers (FAA, 2004, October). Curriculum design in Part 147 aviation maintenance technician schools should help future employees of the aviation industry improve occupational safety performance by enhancing students¡¯ laboratory safety behaviors (White, Kroes, & Watson, 2000, May). The current study evaluated laboratory safety knowledge retention after design and delivery of a lecture-based pre-laboratory safety training protocol for AET students. The training protocol focused on three knowledge domains: laboratory safety operation, laboratory safety equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE), and NISW building Emergency Response Plan (ERP). The researcher in the current study adopted a true experimental design with pretest, posttest and delay posttest. Control group was used. There were 109 students participated in the research and completed the entire process. Data were collected through a test instrument including 15 multiple choice questions, designed and validated by the researcher. After the training, students in the experimental group demonstrated a significant improvement in safety knowledge both immediately and 30 days after. Statistical analysis showed that students' former experiences have no effect on their short/long-term knowledge retention. Additionally, the knowledge retention of PPE module 30 days after the training indicates that a recurrent training on PPE is necessary. The outcome of this study may help safety committees and administrators from the AET program to build a more comprehensive pre-laboratory safety training curriculum. Additionally, research outcomes from the current study may guide investigators toward future efforts and a more focused orientation on laboratory safety training in university aviation programs.
Fanjoy, Purdue University.
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