What is CRM in safety?

Crew resource management, or CRM, was first developed in the 1950’s for the Royal Air Force. The original concept was specifically for pilots and other flight crew, and was even called cockpit resource management. Over time, however, it was found that the same concepts can be used in any environment where human error can lead to devastating accidents or other problems. By finding ways to minimize potential errors from humans in an environment, it is possible to dramatically improve overall safety.

Key Elements of CRM

When training people on CRM it will be necessary to focus on several of the key elements that have made it so successful. These elements apply both in airline environments where they were developed, and in most other workplace situations.

  • Communication – Clear and concise communication is required for all hazardous work environments. Proper communication can help to prevent misunderstandings that can lead to accidents.
  • Workload Management – Most jobs today have a lot of different steps and requirements to follow. Understanding how to manage the workflow, prioritize key tasks, and get help when needed is critical for safety.
  • Decision Making – In environments where human error can cause a disaster, decision making is key. Learning how to quickly process information and make a decision is a key component of CRM.
  • Conflict Resolution – Conflict between employees is often unavoidable, but it should never lead to an accident or other event. Learning how to address conflict in the workplace is critical for workplace safety.
  • Leadership – Good leadership is always important, but it is especially essential in areas where there is a serious risk of an accident or injury.
  • Team Management – Managing a team is difficult and can make a big difference in hazardous areas. When everyone knows what they should be doing, and how to do it, many problems can be avoided.
  • Stress Management – Stress is the workplace can lead to many mistakes and errors, which can be devastating. Learning how to manage stress, what to do when feeling stressed, and how to avoid stress related problems is essential to any workplace.

There are, of course, many other components to CRM when it comes to improving safety in the workplace. Any facility that has high risk areas should look into training employees on crew resource management, and how it can help to address many of the most hazardous issues they face.


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