Human Factors

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What is Human Factors?

The study of Human Factors is about understanding human behaviour and performance. When applied to aviation operations, Human Factors knowledge is used to optimize the fit between people and the systems in which they work in order to improve safety and performance.

Human factors has been identified as the last area in which significant gains in aviation safety are possible. Persistently, some 70-80% of accidents are attributed to human error. This has have made the topic a high priority with operators, regulators and researchers.

Crew Resource Management, initially developed in the United States, is advocated by ICAO and others as the primary means of reducing aviation human factors accidents. The HFG is active in encouraging the development of CRM programmes and improving their quality.

In particular, the HFG has explored CRM issues relating to cultural, regulatory and operational characteristics of the multinational UK/European environment; and the broader organisational aspects of human error prevention. The HFG expects to contribute to progress in these areas by bringing together international experts, line pilots and instructors, and both large and small operators from the UK and elsewhere.

 

Useful Links:

RAeS Human Factors Group

Civil Aviation Authority in the UK

Why a Career in Human Factors?

Work in the field of human factors is exciting, challenging, and rewarding. Human Factors professionals apply their scientific and engineering expertise to the many problems people encounter in the use of tools, equipment, and systems.

Solutions to these problems often involve a combination of product design, user training, and refinement of procedures for using or maintaining the products.

Among the areas of application are automation in a wide range of systems, computer hardware and software, aerospace systems and training.

What Qualifications Do I need to work in Human Factors?

In order to work in this field, you will be required  to have a university degree. Degrees in human factors and related fields are offered by a number of universities and colleges. Human Factors professionals come from a variety of academic disciplines, including engineering, psychology, industrial design, medicine/life sciences, education and business administration.

Where can I work as a Human Factors Specialist?

Whether you prefer an academic environment, private industry, government, consulting, or the military, Human Factors employment opportunities are numerous and wide ranging.

Jobs range from research positions to management of product development teams, with titles such as human factors engineer, ergonomist, safety scientist, usability (UX) practitioner, technical specialist, and research scientist.

For more information on the field, check out the Royal Aeronautical Society’s dedicated Human Factors Group:  https://www.raes-hfg.com/

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