Air Force safety

Internal safety is highly valued in the Royal Netherlands Air Force. For a course during my studies, we worked on solutions to increase employees’ awareness of working safely.

A Safety Passport

To continuously draw the attention of employees to the importance of working safely, the Royal Netherlands Air Force created a 'safety passport'. This booklet contains information about safety and will be given to all employees. They asked for ideas on how to promote this passport to employees. Within a team of four, we started by conducting research to discover what employees think of this passport. As a result of our research, we replaced the Safety Passport with a Safety App.

Design Process

We had a few meetings with the client, and we analyzed the organization. We already had assumptions and ideas on how to improve and promote the passport. We visited multiple Air Force Bases where we conducted interviews with employees from various departments across the organization. We verified our assumptions and discovered new insights. To acquire a deeper understanding of the safety issues that employees (might) face, we asked questions about safety on the work floor, what employees think about an instruction booklet on safety, and what they think about existing safety campaigns.

Kromhout Kazerne

Back at our university, we organized a brainstorm session. We generated many ideas to promote or change the safety passport: from billboards to theatre performances and from posters to virtual reality. We prioritized the ideas, selected our best and favorites, and worked on three different concepts. I focused on the Safety App.

Safety App

Safety App

During interviews, we found employees were not interested in a booklet. One employee said:

I already have a phone, cigarettes, a pen and a notebook with me. I don't want a booklet. The less I have to carry with me, the better.

Besides that, the passport booklet has some other problems: What if safety regulations change? In that case, they must print new booklets for everyone. This is why we came up with the Safety App: a digital version of the passport. I was responsible for working out this concept. The Safety App is a complete replacement of the paper passport idea. The app is designed for internal use within the Royal Netherlands Air Force where all employees, regardless of their job, can find relevant information regarding safety.

Menu | Safety App

Personalize the app

Because jobs at the Air Force can be very different, and for each job an employee might encounter different safety risks, the user can select his or her department, job, and working location. Then, different features can be accessed, such as:

  • Personalized notifications: shows important advices based on location, job, and department, and notifies users of recent changes in safety protocols too;
  • A 'tip of the day', with new, personalized tips based on location, role, department, day, time, season or weather. For instance, an alert can be sent to pilots when heavy storm is coming. By providing optional alerts every day, employees will be remembered to keep risks in mind.

Knowledge base | Safety App

Knowledge base

The knowledge base is the key feature of the app: this was exactly what the Air Force wanted to achieve with the safety passport. Here, employees can find all information regarding safety. Employees can select categories, read and save articles, or view articles based on department or location. If employees have questions about an article, or if there is an immediate problem, they can call an info number within a simple click.

Safety issue reporting | Safety App

Safety issue reporting

During our research, we found that employees often face unsafe situations, but they do not report to the management. Sometimes, employees don't report the incident because they think about it a couple of days after it happened (for example when they are going home and overthinking the day) and they forget to report it the next day. Or worse, sometimes they think it is not important enough to report it at all. To solve this problem, employees can (anonymously) report a dangerous situation or incident everywhere and anywhere with the report function - even when they are at home and suddenly remember the incident.

Offline use | Safety App

Offline use

Employees told us about the bad WiFi signal they sometimes have, because some Air Force Bases, or parts of the Bases, are not covered with WiFi or network signal. To make the app work, it was important that it could be used offline as well. Also, because mobile devices are not allowed all over the Air Force Base - for instance in hangars or other specific zones - the app is optimized for tablets. Those tablets can be mounted on walls in specific areas. This way, employees still have access to the knowledge base.

Our group at the Royal Netherlands Air Force Base in Volkel


I visualized the features of the app and created mockups. According to clients' feedback, adjustments were made. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to show the final prototypes to the employees and ask them for feedback which would be extremely useful when further developing this concept. Finally, we presented our concepts to the staff and Communications and Marketing department at the Air Force Base. The client was delighted with the presented concepts, and we graded the course an 8.1 out of 10.

Working on this project was an amazing experience. We got the chance to work in a unique environment and we were constantly guided by our mentors to come up with creative, thoughtful ideas. Because this project mainly focused on ideation and conception, we had plenty of time to conduct interviews, analyze existing Air Force safety campaigns and create graphic assets. The many meetings we had with the client gave us the ability to fine tune our concepts into something really useful.