Skip to content

Key Principles in Integrating Human Factors in Risk Assessment

Human Factors

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Human Factors

Key Principles in Integrating Human Factors in Risk Assessment


Human factors play a huge role in Major Hazard Installations (MHIs) and when dealing with health and safety, human factors help optimise human performance and reduce human errors. MHIs ought to take the initiative to manage human errors, through the risk assessment process. The challenge is to develop error tolerant systems and to prevent errors from happening.


Human factors is implicit in the risk assessment process, where understanding of the human role is important to minimise risks.  Many major accidents were initiated by human failure. In order to avoid accidents and ill-health, MHIs need to manage human failure by properly integrating human factors in preparation for safety case. When preparing for safety case assessment, there is a human factors aspect to show that measures have been taken to prevent foreseeable human failures that could lead to major accidents. As safety measures improve, there is a significance increase in the role human factors play in producing both safety case and risk assessment reports. Here are the key principles to take note of when incorporating human factors.


Key principles in integrating human factors in risk assessment

  • Through your risk assessment, you should have identified those tasks which are safety critical or expose people occupational health hazards
  • Ensure you have an understanding of how these tasks are carried out and the environment in which they are performed. This may include walking and talking through the task where it is carried out.
  • Involve the workforce in carrying out the assessment and the identification of appropriate controls
  • The people carrying out the assessment should understand the different types of failure and the factors that make them more or less likely to occur
  • Identify the human failures that could be made in the task which might lead to an accident of incident and the performance influencing factors that make those failures more or less likely to occur
  • Identify appropriate control measures which prevent or mitigate the human failures you have identified
  • Where possible you should aim to design out the potential for human failure and design in the potential for recovery should human failure occur. This includes design of the plant, system, environment and task, considering the needs and capabilities of users. Reliance on procedures and training are unlikely to be enough.
  • Check that your control measures work. Regularly review your risk assessment to see if any further improvements can be made
  • The approach you take to human factors in risk assessment should be proportionate to hazards you face. For most industries a qualitative approach will be enough. An example of a qualitative framework that has been found to be useful and effective is the approach outlined in Core Topic 3 of Human Factors Inspectors Toolkit. For some major hazard industries, a quantitative approach may be appropriate.


Useful Links


Human Factors Engineering for Oil & Gas is a 3-day training course held from 27-29 March 2019 (Kuala Lumpur) and 1-3 April 2019 (Singapore) where delegates will be introduced to contemporary thinking related to Applied Human Factors and Safety in Design and illustrate, through numerous examples, why it’s critical to incorporate HFE into your own projects. The ideas you develop in this course will help you understand how design decisions affect human performance and ultimately operational performance. Case studies will be used with a detailed first-hand experience of how HFE was applied within real projects, to demonstrate the flexibility of the HFE processes to fit them to real work.


27-29 March 2019 (Kuala Lumpur): REGISTER NOW!

1-3 April 2019 (Singapore):                 REGISTER NOW!


Opus Kinetic believes that people are why organisations are successful, and giving people the knowledge to perform well at their job is integral for success. We pride ourselves as the premier provider of knowledge, offering acclaimed in-house trainings, and many others professional training courses spanning from various industries. Our training courses are well researched and updated with the latest industry trends. For more information on our professional training programs, visit us at

HTML Snippets Powered By :