Human Factors a Definition

For many years professionals have received high levels of technical skill training associated with their profession. However research in a number of industrial sectors indicates that up to 80% of accident causes can be attributed to a breakdown in human interaction.

There has always been confusion between much of the language that is used to describe human interaction in the work place: - Let us explain:

Human Factors

For many years, psychologists have been interested in the cognitive and social factors that affect workers’ performance and minimise error occurrence. Human error cannot be eliminated; it is an essential facet of the human condition. Professionals will always try to avoid making errors. Unfortunately even the most highly trained and motivated professionals will make mistakes. However with suitable understanding of human factors and appropriate training teams can trap or mitigate the consequences of any such errors.

Ergonomics (or human factors) is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall system performance. Click the following links to visit the websites.

The International Ergonomics Association

Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (USA)

UK Health and Safety Executive (Reducing error and influencing behaviour, HSG48, 2005, HMSO)

Human factors refer to environmental, organisational and job factors, and human and individual characteristics which influence behaviour at work in a way which can affect health and safety. A simple way to view human factors is to think about three aspects: the job, the individual and the organisation and how they impact on people’s health an safety-related behaviour’.

Crew Resource Management (CRM)

In aviation human factors training is known as Crew Resource Management training. Every commercial pilot receives a foundation course in CRM when joining an airline. The regulator also requires an annual refresher. CRM training and assessment is mandatory in civil aviation.

Non Technical Skills (NOTECHS)

An objective framework known as non-technical skills (NOTECHS) has been developed in order to assist in the understanding of those cognitive and social skills that complement workers’ technical skills. Using the NOTECHS system is pivotal in assisting in the understanding of human factors.