Checklist for human factors

This checklist covers many of the topics introduced elsewhere on this website. You may find it a helpful starting point to understand which topics to focus on.

A simple way to view human factors in the workplace is to consider three related aspects – and so this checklist is based around these:

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  • What people are being asked to do (the Work and its characteristics)
  • Who is doing it (the People and their competence), and
  • Where they are working (the Organisation and its attributes).

People

People bring to their work personal attitudes, skills, habits and personalities which can be strengths or weaknesses depending on the task demands. Individual characteristics influence behaviour in complex and significant ways. Their effects on task performance may be negative and may not always be mitigated by work design. Some characteristics such as personality, are fixed and cannot be changed. Others, such as skills and attitudes, may be changed or enhanced.

Have you:

  1. drawn up job specifications looking at age, physique, skill, qualifications, experience, aptitude, knowledge, intelligence and personality?
  2. matched skills and aptitudes to job requirements?
  3. set up personnel selection policies and procedures to select appropriate individuals?
  4. implemented an effective training system?
  5. considered the needs of special groups of employees?
  6. provided fitness for work and health surveillance where this is needed?
  7. provided counselling and support for ill health or stress?

Work

Tasks should be designed in accordance with human factors principles to take into account limitations in human performance. Matching the work to the person will ensure that they are not overloaded and that the most effective contribution to the business results. Physical match includes the design of the whole workplace and working environment. Mental match involves the individual’s information and decision-making requirements, as well as their perception of the tasks. Mismatches between job requirements and worker’s capabilities provide the potential for human error.

Have you:

  1. identified and analysed critical tasks?
  2. evaluated the employee’s decision-making needs?
  3. evaluated the optimum balance between human and automatic systems?
  4. applied ergonomic principles to the design of equipment displays, including displays of plant and process information, control devices and panel layouts?
  5. thought about the design and presentation of procedures and instructions?
  6. considered available guidance for the design and control of the working environment including the workspace, access for maintenance, lighting, noise and thermal conditions?
  7. provided the correct tools and equipment?
  8. scheduled work patterns and shift organisation to minimise impact on health and safety?
  9. considered how to achieve efficient communications and shift handover?

Organisations

Organisational factors have the greatest influence on individual and group behaviour, yet they are often overlooked during the design of work and in the investigation of accidents and incidents. Organisations need to establish a positive health and safety culture. The culture needs to promote employee involvement and commitment at all levels, emphasising that deviation from established safety standards is not acceptable.

Do you have:

  1. an effective health and safety management system?
  2. a positive safety climate and culture?
  3. arrangements for the setting and monitoring of standards?
  4. adequate supervision?
  5. effective incident reporting and analysis?
  6. learning from experience?
  7. clearly visible health and safety leadership?
  8. suitable team structures?
  9. efficient communication systems and practices?
  10. adequate staffing levels?
  11. suitable work patterns?

This checklist is also available as a PDF.