Getting to grips with Human Factors

If these sorts of statements resonate with you you’re not alone. Quite often HSE Managers, Process Safety Engineers, Operations and Maintenance supervisors are too busy to research this themselves. You just don’t have the time alongside your day job.

  • Focus

    "Human Factors seems like it could include anything under the sun.”

  • Direction

    “We were criticised for our approach to Human Factors – we kept suggesting more training, checklists and procedures, but we didn’t know what else to do.”

  • Plan

    “Human Factors seems complex and overwhelming – I don’t know where to start.”


Good Human Factors practices are crucial components in high-hazard industries, ensuring that the risks for Major Accident Hazards (MAH) are mitigated. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) outline six key Human Factors areas as part of their Control of Major Accident Hazard (COMAH) regulations. This provides a very structured approach for applying Human Factors.

  • 1. Managing Human Performance

  • 2. Human Factors in Process Safety

  • 3. Critical Communications

  • 4. Design and Management of Procedures

  • 5. Competence Management Systems

  • 6. Managing Organisational Factors

While these topics are initially intended for COMAH sites across the UK, they are also applicable to industries in other regions concerned with process safety and loss prevention.

Learning Outcomes

  • Be more familiar with the Human Factors Delivery Guide for COMAH sites and the HSE’s Human Factors Roadmap

  • Understand the importance of Human Factors for managing risks associated with Major Accident Hazards

  • Be aware of the six key Human Factors topic areas and their success criteria

  • Distinguish between the different types of human failure and effective strategies for dealing with these

  • Be aware of the core Human Reliability Assessment techniques: task analysis, failure analysis and PIF analysis

  • Understand how Human Factors Safety Critical Task Analysis (SCTA) outputs can support human performance through design, procedures and competence standards.

Course curriculum

  • 1

    Welcome to the course

    • Welcome to the course!

    • Starting the Course

    • Course Joining Instructions & Programme

    • Webinar A - Welcome & Introductions

  • 2

    1. What is Human Factors?

    • Introduction to Human Factors (18mins)

    • Introduction to HF Quiz

    • Exercise 1: Incident Analysis Workshop

    • Case study: BP Texas City Animation (11min)

  • 3

    2. The Human Factors Delivery Guide

    • The Human Factors Delivery Guide (8mins)

  • 4

    3. Six topic areas

    • 1. Managing Human Performance (12mins)

    • Reflection: Topic 1

    • 2. Human Factors for Process Design (14mins)

    • Reflection: Topic 2

    • 3. Critical Communications (8mins)

    • Reflection: Topic 3

    • 4. & 5. Procedure development and Competence management (13mins)

    • Reflection: Topic 4 & Topic 5

    • 6. Managing Organisational Factors (5mins)

    • Reflection: Topic 6

    • Six topic areas quiz

  • 5

    4. Human Error and Mitigation Strategies

    • Types of human erorr & mitigation strategies (23mins)

    • Human Error quiz

    • Exercise 2: Types of Human Failure Workshop

    • Bonus video: Fall from Grace (25mins)

  • 6

    Reflecting on Part 1

    • Reflecting on Part 1

    • Webinar B: Review of Part 1

  • 7

    5. Human Factors Roadmap

    • Navigating the Human Factors Roadmap (8mins)

  • 8

    6. Critical Task Identification

    • Step 1: Critical Task ID and Prioritisation (8mins)

  • 9

    7. Task Analysis

    • Step 2: Task Analysis (10mins)

    • Exercise 3: HTA

    • HTA demo (7mins)

  • 10

    8. & 9. Human Factors Risk Assessment

    • Step 3 and 4: Failure and PIF Analysis (9mins)

    • Step 5: Improvements (6mins)

    • Exercise 4: Failure and PIF Analysis of Maintaining Nitrogen Backup Supply

    • Human Reliability demo (12mins)

  • 11

    10. Design, Procedures and Competence Management

    • Step 6: Outputs and Impact (21mins)

    • Exercise 5: Critiquing Procedures

    • Outputs demo (5mins)

  • 12

    Reflecting on Part 2

    • Reflecting on Part 2

    • Webinar C: Review of Part 2

  • 13

    Course Completion

    • Congratulations! Complete and download your digital workbook

    • Course Review

    • Course Completion Certificate

    • Thanks!

  • 14


    • Course slides bundle


Senior Human Factors Consultant

Dominic Furniss

Dr Dominic Furniss holds degrees in Human-Computer Interaction and Human Factors (MSc, PhD) from University College London (UCL). He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors (CIEHF). His particular areas of interest include user research, usability engineering, sociotechnical system design, and Safety-II.

Senior Human Factors Consultant

Jamie Henderson

Holds a degree in Psychology from the University of Liverpool and a Masters degree in Ergonomics from Loughborough University. He is a Chartered member of the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors (CIEHF). He has worked as a Human Factors consultant for over 20 years. Much of his work has been in the process industries, undertaking projects for companies such as BP, National Grid, ConocoPhillips, Borealis, Huntsman and Acetate Products. This work has given him considerable experience in the development of qualitative human reliability assessments for safety cases, and in the related areas of procedures and training.