A definition …
Human factors (HF) is the discipline that applies our knowledge of human capabilities and limitations to the design, operation and maintenance of technological systems.
HF draws from established disciplines such as psychology, ergonomics, physiology and engineering to develop and apply knowledge about people at work to the functional relationships between people, tasks, technologies and the working environment in order to produce safe and efficient human performance.
… and what it means for the rail industry
The primary focus of HF in the rail industry today is to improve safety and efficiency by reducing the potential for human error.
It considers the working environment from a human-centred perspective looking at the whole system and its influence on the way people behave and interact with the railway.
Rail incidents are often attributed to human failure, but humans rarely make mistakes on purpose. The application of HF knowledge and tools can identify adverse effects on human performance in the work environment and help to design effective mitigation strategies.
Human factors resources
ITSR is developing a suite of resources to help the rail industry better manage risk and improve overall safety management by identifying HF issues that lead to occurrences.