4 Reasons Why Human Factors Is Crucial In Aviation

4 Reasons Why Human Factors Is Crucial In Aviation

Human Factors is a study on human performances at work due to the effects of environment, organization, and human characteristics.   These factors limit our capability to perform to our best and inevitably, may impact on safety of the products or services we deliver to the travelling public.

Human Factors plays a big role in aviation safety. According to Boeing, approximately 80% of air accidents are due to human error. This is why the understanding of Human Factors is extremely important. While you may have already learned about Human Factors at some point, there are a string of implicit reasons that make Human Factors so crucial and beneficial to the aviation industry.

  1. Optimizes Human-System Interactions

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By developing an in-depth understanding of Human Factors, we can identify the limitations and constraints of interactions between the human operator (such as the mechanic, pilot or air traffic controller) and the involved software, hardware, environment and other humans. This stems from the understanding of the SHELL model, which covers the scope of Human Factors in aviation.

An example of optimizing interactions by improving systems is making traffic collision avoidance system (TCAS) less strenuous on the eyes, so that air traffic controllers can perform efficiently without discomfort. Another example would be the study of ergonomics, to make the inspection on aircraft fuselage for cracks more conducive and error-free.

  1. Increases Teamwork and Cooperation

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One aspect of Human Factors covers the interaction between liveware; in other words, human-to-human interaction. Understanding the dynamics of the workplace – be it in the cockpit, hangar or at the office – can help promote positive communication and synergy.

At work, there may be unnecessary or overly significant hierarchical structures, leading to diminished teamwork and lower morale. In the Tenerife airport disaster, pegged the ‘deadliest aviation accident of all time’, the actions of an overly autocratic captain (along with various other factors) led to the deaths of 583 passengers in two B747s.

If all members of staff are trained to understand a high level of Human Factors, and how to interact with colleagues so as to preserve positive outcomes, the level of safety in the aviation industry can greatly improve.

  1. Facilitates Effectiveness of Accident Investigations

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Growing up, ‘Learn from your mistakes!’ was a quote that many of us have heard over and over again, from our parents and teachers. Similarly, in the aviation industry, a great deal of advances had been made because of past mistakes and accidents. In hindsight, with the application of an understanding in Human Factors, we are able to view the accident in a different light and apply the lessons learned, to continuously improve aviation safety.

  1. Improves Safety Performance

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Ultimately, the understanding of Human Factors is one of the biggest tools we can utilize to improve safety performance. All the positive effects of Human Factors inevitably point to increased safety – because in the aviation industry, we strive for the highest levels of safety. And that is why Human Factors training is mandatory!

Interested in learning more about Human Factors? Visit http://www.dviation.com/content/human-factor-refresher for more course information!

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