170 Pages

Competence, behaviour, training, fatigue and communications

Human error is often cited as a cause of an incident. However many different types of human failures are known to exist, each with different underlying psychological and situational causal factors. These types are described in “Reducing error and influencing behaviour” (HSE, 1999). Many human errors will not be caused or made more likely to occur by a single factor but by a combination of performance shaping factors. They cover aspects of the job (e.g. time pressure, interruptions, environmental aspects such as crowded platforms) and individual factors (e.g. inexperience, boredom).These are in turn influenced by organisational andmanagement factors, such as inadequacies in work procedures or training resources. Organisational and management factors may take the form of ‘latent failures’, which are hidden within an organisation until exposed by some event likely to have serious consequences. Behind most ‘active failures’ of a front line operator there will be some such latent failures. In that sense an individual may be almost “set up” to fail by the work context (the “system”) in which they are working.