Human Factors in Accident Causation
Often the human element in accident causation is misunderstood. The short articles below are intended to briefly describe the often complex issue of accident causation.
The article on At-risk Behaviors in Accident Causation briefly explained the reasons people sometimes exhibit at-risk behavior. This short article will address what is called the ‘human factors element’.
The study of human factors in the United States got its start in the Air Force. Pilots who flew aircraft often under stressful conditions would occasionally flip the wrong switch or push the wrong button, resulting too often in significant damage or even total loss of the aircraft. It was discovered through exhaustive causal factor investigation that the design of the instrument panel and controls were very confusing. Furthermore, the location and appearance of some critical switches were not consistent in all of the aircraft.
We learned from the Air Force experience and years of subsequent study that the design and construction of products, machines, equipment, etc. plays an important role in accident causation….. or preferably, accident prevention.
At General Health & Safety Services, we evaluate the design of products, displays, control panels and other material components to minimize the potential for human error.