What Are Human Factors?

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The subject of Human Factors deals with all the human elements of people in man-machine systems. It is not confined to the traditional design and layout of equipment and workplaces, but also covers aspects of manpower, organisation, management and allocation of responsibility, automation, communication, skills, training, health, safety, and the prevention of errors or accidents.

The people concerned are all those associated with the total system, not merely the front-end users such as pilots and air traffic control officers, but also designers, equipment suppliers, maintainers, support personnel, instructors and so on.

Thus the concept of a 'Human Factors incident' is extremely broad, and the pivotal tenet is that wider knowledge and understanding of the scope and causes of such incidents, caused by human error or failings, will reduce the chances of future accidents.

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