Human error leads to new safety approach

February 2004
Management Services;Feb2004, Vol. 48 Issue 2, p5
Academic Journal
This article reports on the human factors model developed by Human Factors Analysts (HFAL) in Glasgow, Scotland. The model was based on discourse analysis which can go a long way to help prevent accidents from occurring within safety critical industries as well as improve a company's understanding of human error. Human error contributes towards over 70% of accidents and incidents in high tech, high consequence industries such as rail and oil. However, when accidents occur, many companies focus on technical and system failures first before looking at human errors. HFAL has developed a technique which can uncover potential safety discrepancies by studying what people say and report. It is only by analysing natural discourse that it is possible to get to the reasons behind safety errors. HFAL is then able to translate this information into a more traditional, quantitative format and use it to shape safety strategy and policies. According to Matthew Plunkett of HFAL, the financial cost of accidents is steadily growing. Essentially, companies are reducing their trading profits by between 5% and 10% and on average, it costs somewhere between £200 and £400 per person in employment.


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