Introduction To Human Factors
It is a common saying that “To Err is to be Human”. However, errors in aviation are unforgivable as these errors have catastrophic consequences.
In recent years the term, ‘human factors’ has become quite popular in the aviation industry. It is because aviation experts have realized that human errors and not mechanical failures cause most aviation accidents.
In aviation, human factors are committed to recognizing how humans can safely work with the technology to reduce accidental errors. This recognition is then interpreted into design, training, policies, or procedures to help humans perform better in aviation.
Types Of Human Factors Accounted As Human Errors in Aviation
Human factors are involved in all aviation operations, from manufacturing the aircraft to attaching tow to the landing gear. But what exactly are human factors that have such a significant impact on the aviation industry?
- Absence Of Communication– Miscommunication is the leading culprit in aviation maintenance accident reports.
- Lack Of Knowledge– Sometimes, technicians are pressed into conducting tasks outside of their scope of experience and knowledge, which can result in massive accidents.
- Complacency-When operators are tired of doing their routine jobs like checking for the constant running of auxiliary power units (APUs) for checking the ground functions, accidents are more likely to happen.
- Distractions– Being distracted in any role in aviation can lead to multiple accidents.
- Absence Of Teamwork- Personal conflicts, differences of opinions, and intolerance should not be visible while teams of employees perform critical aviation operations.
- Exhaustion– Exhausted employees are not able to perform well at their jobs.
- Lack Of Resources– When employees are pushed to complete tasks even when quality components are not available, accidents are more likely to happen.
- Lack Of Assertiveness– Employees in aviation are required to make quick decisions.
- Too Much Stress– Chronically stressed pilots are dangerous for the safety of flight passengers and crew members.
- Absence Of Awareness– Pilots are known to be highly skilled, self-aware individuals. This is because it becomes hazardous when they aren’t aware of everything happening on the flight.
What Can Be Done To Reduce These Human Errors?
Human factors specialists can analyse operational safety and develop methods and tools to help operators better manage human error.
These responsibilities demand the specialists work jointly with engineers, safety experts, test and training pilots, technicians, and cabin crews to combine human factors into the design of all aeroplanes properly.
Their areas of responsibility include dealing with human factors in:
- Flight Deck Design- Safer and more reliable designs have consistently been identified as a factor in preventing and alleviating human errors over the years. Developments in engines, systems, and structures have all added to this achievement.
- Design For Operability And In-Service Support- In maintenance, as in-flight deck design, great aircraft manufacturing companies like Boeing employs a diversity of sources to approach human factors issues, including
- Chief mechanic support.
- Computer-based maintainability design machines.
- Fault information team.
- Customer support methods.
- Error Management- Neglecting critical procedures is not unusual in incidents and accidents related to both flight operations and maintenance procedures. Tools like ‘procedural event analysis tool’ and ‘maintenance error decision aid’ helps airline personnel (like cabin crew or technicians) to identify, eliminate and even mitigate factors contributing to human errors.
- Passenger Cabin Design- The traveller cabin embodies significant human factors challenges related to passengers and cabin crews. Human factors principles generally linked with the flight deck are now being applied to examine human performance functions and ensure that cabin crews and passengers can do what they need or want to do.
Training aviation personnel is critical since it helps them identify and correct human factors.
Tools like ‘procedural event analysis’ can also help lessen some human errors by directly reducing the burden on technicians, thus reducing stress and pressure (some of the significant human factors).
We can never entirely abolish human factors as they are far too deeply ingrained in our biology. Instead, we can take steps to identify them, modify our behaviour, and decrease damage.
We hope this article could give you deep insight into how to erase the negative impact of human factors in aviation. To get comprehensive knowledge about the aviation industry, you can always check out Aviators of Tomorrow, one of the best flight schools in India.