Human factors developments for 2012

In the last HOF Blog post, you learnt about the HOFCOM, the EI’s Human and Organisational Factors Committee, who oversee development of our human factors resources – most of which are available freely online from the EI website –

The HOFCOM undertakes a number of human factors projects every year, producing new resources like guidance for industry and practical tools, and it should be no surprise that 2012 will be no exception!

Training materials to bridge the gap

Work is underway to develop training materials for a 4-day ‘human factors foundation course’.

Currently there is a gap in knowledge between those who have an awareness of human factors issues and those who are able to fully run and manage human factors initiatives, making it difficult for companies to train people up to the required standard to oversee large projects and to manage human factors in their own work.  One reason for this is that human factors is not always adequately addressed within degree level engineering courses.

This project aims to develop a complete set of training materials for a 4-day course, including a slide pack, teaching notes, workshop exercises and assessment questions.  Negating the need to produce bespoke materials for every new human factors training course, these materials will be made available to companies/institutions, either to run a stand-alone course, or to incorporate into existing courses, including at undergraduate and masters level.

The materials are being developed by Human Reliability Associates, who run the human factors module within the University of Sheffield’s ‘Process safety and loss prevention’ MSc(Eng) course, and are being developed in consultation with IMechE, Cogent, HSE and HSL, among other stakeholders.  The goal is for these materials to set the standard for human factors training.

Web-based course

In support of this, the EI is soon to launch a free web-based Human factors awareness training course.  This aims to give those working in industry an awareness of the most pertinent human factors issues and some of the methodologies by which they can be managed.

Developed by Greenstreet Berman, the course also assesses participants’ learning and records their score, intending to raise awareness and prepare for further development, such as more advanced training as provided by the EI’s human factors and accident investigation face-to-face training courses and the foundation course materials.

Qualitative human reliability analysis

Directed by the EI’s SILs/LOPA Working Group, we are producing Guidance on quantified human reliability analysis (QHRA).

Integration of human factors into major hazards operations subject to safety cases/reports requires use of robust data in risk assessments; however, there lacks practical information on the use of human error probability (HEP) data in human reliability analysis (HRA). This project aims to develop practical guidance on quantification of human failure in risk assessment for a primary audience who need to be competent ‘intelligent customers’, whether such services are provided in-house or using external resource.

Fatigue management and crew resource management

The HOFCOM have also received funding for two more projects to begin this year.

Firstly to revise the EI fatigue guide: Improving alertness through effective fatigue management.  First published in 2006, this guidance document will be updated with the latest good practice on fatigue management, including on the growing area of fatigue management/recording systems, as well as pertinent new research findings.

Secondly, we aim to produce a guidance document on crew resource management (CRM) and non-technical skills (notechs).  This new guidance document will set out the case for CRM/notechs training, its benefits, its subject matter, and good practice on what CRM/notechs training should include.  The UK HSE believes there is a strong case for the energy sector to adopt CRM principles and this document aims to highlight this.

Hearts and Minds

Last but not least, the EI co-ordinated Hearts and Minds programme has funded two PhDs on ‘learning from incidents’ and ‘safety leadership’ respectively, both of which are nearing completion.

It is anticipated that the findings of this research will drive further development of the Hearts and Minds toolkit (watch this space), including plans to conduct follow-up research and to produce a practical ‘learning from incidents’ toolkit to help sites engage with and apply learning in their local operations.

Phew! If that’s 2012, what might 2013 look like?

What would you like to see produced to help you manage human factors?  Perhaps you identify with some of the gaps raised here?  Or maybe you’d like to share different views on what you might like to see in HOFCOM’s forward work programme, based on what would be helpful to your operations?

To keep up to date with the EI’s human factors work programme, visit the EI human factors website.

2 Responses to Human factors developments for 2012

  1. Verschueren Frank says:


    I am interested in “4-day ‘human factors foundation course’.” and the free web-based Human factors awareness training course.

    Is the material for the “4-day ‘human factors foundation course’.” also free?

    I am sorry to ask but Belgium is just slightly doing better than Spain and Italy what economical recession means for our budget

    That means for me as Governmental Inspector there is NO budget.
    So I would be pleased if the financial input (which would be then private) would be minimal

    Thanks for your answer

    Frank Verschueren

    Occupational Health and Process Safety Federal Inspector

  2. […] human factors, including the EI website, HSE website, OGP and Step Change in Safety websites, and more on the way.  Does the challenge of human factors arise from there not being enough information available? (If […]

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