Term Paper: Human Factors Engineering Documented Evidence

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Human Factors Engineering

Documented evidence shows that human error contributes at least seventy percent of commercial aircraft hull-loss accidents. Even as being linked with flight operations, human error has turned into a major issue in air traffic management and maintenance practices. At Boeing, professionals on human factors work with pilots, mechanics and engineers to employ the most up-to-date knowledge regarding the connection between the condition of commercial airplanes and human performance. This enables operators to increase efficiency and enhance safety in their every day operations.

The expression "human factors" has progressively become more popular because commercial aviation businesses have become fully cognizant that human error, instead of mechanical breakdown, causes a majority of aviation incidents and accidents. Human factors, if taken in a narrow manner, are seen to be synonymous with maintenance resource management (MRM) or crew resource management (CRM). Nevertheless, it is wider in its scope and knowledge base. As a concept, human factors entails gathering information regarding human limitations, abilities and other attributes and applying it to machines, jobs, tools, tasks, environments and systems to produce effective, comfortable and safe human use. Within the context of aviation, the field of human factors is committed to enhance understanding of how humans can most efficiently and safely be incorporated with the current technology. The understanding is afterward translated into training, design, procedures or policies to enable humans better their performance.

Aviation Safety

In general, aviation has numerous problems that affect daily operations. These problems include accidents, bad maintenance practices, faulty training, SOPs as well as incidents. Formerly, the machine faults were blamed for these problems. Nowadays, with research and inspecting, it has been shown that more problems are attributable to human error relative to those caused by machine faults. Since WWII ended, issues of human factors have turn out to be a great concern in Aviation Safety. Approximately, 90% to 95% of aviation incidents and accidents have been arguably been a result of human factors. Human factors is an across-the-board endeavor to amass data regarding human limitations as well as capabilities and apply the data to systems, equipment, facilities, software, jobs, procedures, training, environments, personnel management and staffing to create comfortable, safe, effective and ergonomic human performance.

Objective

This project aims at developing an evaluation document on a particular HFE problem by use of the most current information available.

Approach

Currently, the FAA is endeavoring to incorporate human factors into all aviation aspects where safety is a key issue. Resultantly, the FAA issued a human factors policy, named FAA order 9550.8, which says that "Human factors shall be incorporated into the planning and implementation of the functions of all activities and elements of FAA related to system operations and system acquisitions. This will be done in a systematic or consistent manner." FAA shall strive to accentuate human factor considerations to make the most of the relative strengths of machines and people while improving system performance. The considerations shall be incorporate during the initial stages of FAA projects. The FAA has become cognizant that mostly, a majority of people think of a project or system in terms of the tangibles like equipment, software and hardware. A good number of people never consider the product's end user, the person. Because of that, as systems are being designed, different abilities and aptitudes are never taken into account. The FAA is fighting against this prevalent thought pattern by introducing what is called "Total System Performance." This is simply a measure of probability or possibility. The probability that the whole system will work properly, when it is availed, is the probability that the software/hardware will work well, multiplied by the probability that the working environment is not going to lower the quality of the system operation, and multiplied by the probability that the user will perform properly.

Problem

System failure -- mechanical problems

Scientific observation has shown that a system can operate faultlessly in a laboratory, demonstration site, test environment and then fail to work properly when a human being gets into the loop as the operator. Therefore, human factors have to be considered to compensate for this reality, and they ought to be incorporated into new systems. When that is done, performance and accuracy will increase, while performance time will decrease. Safety will be enhanced. A study by FAA has shown that devising systems to meliorate human performance is safe and cost effective when done in the early developmental stages of a project.

There are a number of possible human factors that ought to be considered during the development stages and research. These are health and safety, functional design, display and controls, work space, display presentation, information requirements,

communications, aural/visual alerts, environment and anthropometrics.

Issues of morale and productivity

Apart from the major impact on morale and productivity, there are other significant reasons why a company ought to consider carefully prior to cutting training budgets. Companies that offer continuing training and education demonstrate that they can invest well in their employees and that the link between the employees and the companies is a two-party relationship. This has a positive impact on loyalty. Loyal employees work very hard and thus increase productivity. They remain in the company much longer and this reduces training as well as hiring costs, and also cuts down possible liabilities from discontented workers.

Lack of proper management of error

In accidents and incidents related to both maintenance procedures and flight operations, failure to abide by procedures is common. Nonetheless, the aviation industry does not provide insight into the reason behind such errors. Up to now, the industry has not developed a consistent and systematic tool for looking into such incidents and accidents. To address this issue, Boeing has devised human factors tools to help identify with the reasons behind the errors and come up with suggestions for methodical improvements.

Among those developed, two tools work on the philosophy that when airline staff (either mechanics or flight crew) make errors, contributory factors within the work environment are a component of the causal chain. In order to avert such errors in the future, the contributory factors have to be identified and, possibly, be mitigated or eliminated. The tools are:

Maintenance Error Decision Aid.

Procedural Event Analysis Tool.

Boeing -- crashes, design process, solutions

The Tenerife disaster, which took place on the 27 of March back in 1977, continues to be the biggest accident in aviation history due to the greatest quantity of airliner passenger deaths. A total of 583 people died when the KLM Boeing 747 tried to take-off without attaining official clearance first, and ended up colliding with a taxiing Pan Am 747 at Los Rodeos Airport terminal around the island of Tenerife, Spain. Both of the aircrafts underwent complete annihilation and while there were no children in the KLM aircraft, a total of 61 from the 396 people and crew around the Pan Am aircraft made it. Pilot error was the main cause because the KLM captain thought he had received clearance for takeoff because of a communication lapse or misinterpretation. An additional cause for this accident was the dense fog which primarily menat that the KLM flight crew was not able to determine the Pan Am aircraft around the runway until immediately just before the collision (Freissinet, 2013).

Similarly, Russia is one country that has witnessed a string of deadly crashes recently. Some happen to be attributed to using aging aircraft, but skillfully developed reports and investigations indicate many other problems, including poor crew training, falling apart international airports, poor government controls and common neglect of safety within the quest for profits (Crossley and Edwards, 2013).

The recent fatal airliner crash was in December, when the Russian-made Tupolev owned by Red-colored Wings air travel careered from the runway at Moscow's Vnukovo airport terminal, folded across a snowy area and then crashed in to the slope of the nearby highway, smashing into pieces and then catching fire. Researchers say equipment failure triggered the crash, which wiped out five people (Crossley and Edwards, 2013).

Also, a 2011 crash in Yaroslavl that wiped out 44 people together with a professional hockey team was attributed to pilot error. And Russian researchers discovered that the aircraft pilots in 2 crashes that wiped out 10 and 47 people recently were intoxicated (Crossley and Edwards, 2013).

In spite of rapid advancements in technology, human beings are at the end of the day in charge of ensuring the safety and success of the airmanship. Humans have to continually be flexible, knowledgeable, and efficient as well as dedicated as they make good judgment. In the meantime, the aviation industry keeps on making major investments in equipment, systems and training that have long-run entailments. Since technology keeps on evolving quicker than the capacity to envisage how human beings will work with it, the aviation industry cannot depend much on intuition and experience any more to direct decisions concerning human performance. Rather, a well-grounded scientific foundation is required for evaluating human performance entailments in training, procedures and design, just like the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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