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Human factors - Top ten issues

Top ten human factors issues facing major hazards sites – definition, consequences, and resources

This webpage provides access to listings of resources in support of HSE’s human factors 'key issues' - these are the 'top ten' human factors issues facing onshore major hazards sites in the chemical and allied industries, based on research, consultation with industry and intermediaries and inspection experience.

Whilst numbered, the issues are not in priority order. The issues are similar in the offshore major hazard sector.

How to use the top ten listings

In the linked webpages below, each issue is defined and illustrated with consequences of failing to manage it adequately, sometimes by referring to key incidents. In addition, each issue provides three levels of resources:

  • Introductory resources: incident reports, briefing notes or sections of longer resources that should assist the untrained user in gaining some understanding of the issue.
  • Practical tools: resources enabling the user to assess whether the issue is being adequately addressed and to identify what improvements are required. Typically they contain checklists.
  • Advanced resources: either detailed research reports, possibly focussing on a single aspect of the issue, or reference texts.  Suitable for trained and experienced human factors practitioners.

Top ten human factors Issues:

1.  Organisational change (and transition management)
2.  Staffing arrangements and workload
3.  Training and competence (and supervision)
4.  Fatigue (from shiftwork and overtime)
5.  Human factors in design:
     (a) General
     (b) Alarm handling
     (c) Control rooms
     (d) Ergonomics – design of interfaces
     (e) Ergonomics – health ergonomics

6.  Procedures (especially safety critical procedures)
7.  Organisational culture (and development)
8.  Communications and interfaces
9.  Integration of human factors into risk assessment and investigations (including Safety Management Systems)
10. Managing human failure (including maintenance error)

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