Human Factors In Aviation

How important are human factors in aviation? Is it true that one worker in a state of stress or fatigue can cause hundreds of deaths? These questions can be answered when you understand what exactly human factors in aviation are and what kind of effect they may have.

The term “human factors” is complex and covers the science of understanding the specifics of a great number of subjects (including psychology, industrial design, anthropometry, statistics, and engineering), the application of this understanding to different fields (development, design, etc.) and the art of applying human factor principles to the working environment. Human error is the most troublesome of all human factors. The fact that over 80% of accidents are caused by these unintentional actions increased the interest towards studying human factors and their actual role in aviation.

Human factors can be roughly divided into two categories, depending on the person’s position. Pilots, crew and air traffic controllers form the first category. These people are directly responsible for the process of flight and landing. Their possible mistakes include inability to keep control of a plane, choosing a dangerous route, and incorrectly performed maneuvers.

The second category includes people responsible for design and maintenance of a plane. There are many factors that influence this group. The first of them is people who do the job. Their physical and psychological conditions, as well as their capabilities, determine the probability of errors. The second important factor is the environment where people work. It includes both the physical environment that surrounds the worker and theorganizational environment (safety, profitability, communication within the organization, etc.). Actions of the workers are also considered one of the important human factors. They include the actions that people actually do and the instructions that they must follow. The final component of human factors is resources that people rely on or produce when working. All these factors are closely interrelated and studied as a group. A single deviation from the strictly defined norm in one of them can trigger a chain reaction that may lead to a serious accident.

Human factors play an extremely important part in aviation. In this field, a manager’s mistake that will cause stress to a worker can be as deadly as an engineer’s miscalculation. This is why all these factors must be studied and controlled. Avoiding human error is impossible. Therefore the main objective in this case is to catch and fix it before any serious incidents occur.

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