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Human Factors 101 - Making it easy for Homer to do the right thing.

Human factors and Homer Simpson

What is human factors? Do you have difficulty explaining the topic to others? And what value does human factors add?

This post examines the factors that might influence a control room operator’s behaviour (Homer Simpson) and how we might improve his human reliability.

These ‘Performance Influencing Factors’ are key to optimising human performance. The post provides a definition of human factors: “making it easy for Homer to do the right thing”.

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Christine - humanfactors101.com

Death by design

Could you be killed by a car tonight? You’re perhaps thinking that I’m referring to a road traffic accident – as an occupant in a vehicle, or maybe as a pedestrian or cyclist. But there’s another way that you could be killed by a car tonight – YOUR car in fact.  And this isn’t a reference to the Stephen King novel “Christine”, about a car apparently possessed by supernatural forces. This article examines how a technological change has led to tragedy. Please share this “safety moment” with family, friends and colleagues.

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Fatal distraction

Around the world, children die from hyperthermia every year after parents unintentionally left them in a hot vehicle, often for a full day.

This post examines these tragedies from a human factors perspective, and provides some tips to prevent it happening to your family.

It also asks whether we can learn from these events to improve human performance in the workplace.

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park the phone - human-factors-101

Your mobile phone could kill you

A significant proportion of road accidents involve driver distraction. Many drivers admit to making calls, reading or writing messages, and checking social media whilst driving.

Using mobile phones can cause drivers to take their eyes off the road, their hands off the steering wheel, and their minds off the road and the surrounding situation.

This article outlines how using a mobile can affect driving behaviours, and increase crash risk (even if using a hands-free device).

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Organisational change and disaster

Change is the only constant

Organisational change is inevitable, but does it have to lead to disaster? Whatever it is that defines ‘safety’ for your organisation, whether that is keeping chemicals in the pipes, keeping trains on the tracks, airplanes in the sky, or not harming patients; it is essential that any significant organisational changes are assessed for their impact on safety. This will include assessing changes to: roles and responsibilities, organisational structures, reporting relationships, staffing levels, staff location, outsourcing, use of contractors, delayering, downsizing and centralisation of functions. This article discusses two aspects of any change that need to be assessed and managed.