Category Archives: Human Factors

Taking Human Factors to the top of the NHS

Posted by Luigi Fort, Senior Marketing Executive

The Clinical Human Factors Group are taking the human factors message to top-level NHS management at their Safety Science & Solutions conference next week (Birmingham, UK, 12 March 2014). This is particularly timely bearing in mind the National Quality Board’s recent Concordat which aims to embed Human Factors principles and practices into the healthcare system.

The conference will enable Chairs, Chief Executives, Executive and Non-Executive Directors, Chief Operating Officers, Directors of Nursing, Medical Directors and Divisional Managers, Lead Clinicians to gain insights that will positively impact their role in promoting safety, quality and productivity in healthcare.

Ashgate publishes a range of books relating to Human Factors in Healthcare and Patient Safety. Why not take a look on our website?

James Reason’s new book “A Life in Error: from little slips to big disasters”

‘This book is like a personal and intimate trip through the ideas that pioneered human error and industrial safety. It goes into day-to-day experience of errors, contains testimonials and anecdotal information, and widens to system safety. Everything seems to have been said on the topic, and yet the book puts the matter differently in a manner that is true, full and in plain, jargon-free language. I love this book.’    René Amalberti, Haute Autorité de Santé, France

‘Reason’s new book is a master class on human error: a concise tour of his career explaining how mistakes can occur. It is a pleasure to accompany him while he presents his favourite and often funny accounts of fallibility, tempered with insights on the resulting risks and how they can be mitigated.’   Rhona Flin, University of Aberdeen, UK

From James Reason’s introductory note to his new book A Life in Error:

A Life in ErrorThis short book covers the main way stations on my 40-year journey in pursuit of the nature and varieties of human error. Inevitably they represent a very personal perspective, but I have also sought to include contrary opinions.

The journey, as at this point, begins with a bizarre, absent-minded action slip committed by me in the early 1970s—putting cat food into the teapot— and continues until the present with a variety of major accidents that have shaped my thinking about unsafe acts and latent conditions.

The original focus of this enquiry was individual cognitive psychology, but over the years the scope has gradually widened to embrace social, organizational and systemic issues. For the most part, my interest here is more on the journey than on the details of each waypoint—though there will be some exceptions. There are two reasons for this. First, many of the waypoints have been covered in previous Ashgate books. Second, I want to focus on the factors either in my head or in the world that prompted the next step in the journey.

This book is written for all those who have an interest in human factors and their interactions with the workings of technological systems whose occasional breakdowns can cause serious damage to people, assets and the environment. This is a large and diverse group whose number, I hope, includes students, academics and safety professionals of all kinds—and has lately included a growing number of health carers. Where possible, I have tried to make clear the thinking and—if you’ll excuse the unavoidable pun—the reasoning that contributed to the models, metaphors, taxonomies and practices that have influenced the course of this journey.

This succinct but absorbing book covers the main way stations on James Reason’s 40-year journey in pursuit of the nature and varieties of human error. A Life in Error charts the development of his seminal and hugely influential work from its original focus into individual cognitive psychology through the broadening of scope to embrace social, organizational and systemic issues. The voyage recounted is both hugely entertaining and educational, imparting a real sense of how James Reason’s ground-breaking theories changed the way we think about human error, and why he is held in such esteem around the world wherever humans interact with technological systems.

About the Author: James Reason has written books on motion sickness, absent-mindedness, human error, aviation human factors, managing the risks of organizational accidents, managing maintenance errors, and the human contribution: unsafe acts, accidents and heroic recoveries. He has worked in a wide variety of hazardous industries, though patient safety is now his primary concern. In 2003, he was awarded an honorary DSc by the University of Aberdeen. He is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society, the Royal Aeronautical Society, the British Academy and the Royal College of General Practitioners. He received a CBE in 2003 for his services to reducing the risks in health care. In 2010, he received an Award for Distinguished Service from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, and in 2011 was elected an honorary fellow of the Safety and Reliability Society.

‘This book is an authoritative reminder of the journey to gain acceptance of human error as intrinsic to open systems operations as we enjoy it today, portrayed by the witty pen of one of its topmost trailblazers. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and found the segment on organizational accidents a particular gem.’   Daniel E. Maurino, formerly Coordinator of the Flight Safety and Human Factors Study Programme, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

‘A fascinating personal and intellectual journey showing the evolution of both James Reason’s personal approach and also the broader history of thinking on error and safety. He has a unique gift for making complex ideas accessible within an absorbing and lucid narrative. And all leavened with wonderful examples of human error and some great stories.’   Charles Vincent, Imperial College London, UK

 ‘Each chapter of this book tells a story where Reason personally confronted a puzzle about accidents, human performance, or organizational decisions. Together the stories build a comprehensive picture of how safety is created but sometime undermined.’   David D. Woods, Ohio State University, USA

‘In this delightful memoir, Jim Reason provides an amazingly comprehensive and understandable explanation of how and why individuals and organizations make mistakes and what to do about it. A valuable review for experts and a perfect introduction for beginners.’   Lucian Leape, Harvard University, USA

More information about A Life in Error: From little slips to big disasters

When selecting a pilot – how do we choose the ‘Right Stuff’?

Posted by Luigi Fort, Senior Marketing Executive

How do we choose the ‘Right Stuff’?

From the early years of aviation here are a couple of examples of what to look for when choosing an aviator…

In 1914: “he must possess an unusual amount of dare-devil spirit” (Dockeray and Isaacs 1921).

The US War Department in 1941: “eliminate all the mental and nervous weaklings including temperamental and personality handicapped individuals such as eccentrics, disturbers, irritable, unsocial, peculiar, gossipy, arrogant, and other mental twists types, all unsuited to aviation.

They are taken from ‘A History of Aeromedical Psychology’ (Tatana M. Olsen, Mathew McCauley and Carrie H. Kennedy), the opening chapter of ‘Aeromedical Psychology’, the new Ashgate book edited by Carrie H. Kennedy, University of Virginia, USA and Gary G. Kay, Cognitive Research Corporation, USA.

Aeromedical PsychologyHow has the science and practice of pilot selection progressed since those times?

Kennedy and Gray provide a guide to aeromedical psychology and the training and selection process.

The Human Factors of Simulation and Assessment series – a call for proposals

Advances in lower-cost technologies are supporting worldwide growth in the use of simulation and naturalistic performance assessment methods for research, training and operational purposes in domains such as road, rail, aviation, mining and healthcare.

This has not been accompanied by a similar growth in the expertise required to develop and use such systems for evaluating human performance. Whether for research or practitioner purposes, many of the challenges in assessing operator performance, both using simulation and in natural environments, are common.

What performance measures should be used?

What technology can support the collection of these measures across the different designs?

How can other methods and performance measures be integrated to complement objective data?

How should behaviours be coded and the performance standards measured and defined?

How can these approaches be used to support product development and training?

How can performance within these complex systems be validated?

This series addresses a shortfall in knowledge and expertise by providing a unique and dedicated forum for researchers and experienced users of simulation and field-based assessment methods to share practical experiences and knowledge in sufficient depth to facilitate delivery of practical guidance.

Series EditorsMichael Lenné, Monash University Accident Research Centre, Melbourne, Australia and Mark Young, School of Engineering and Design, Brunel University, London, UK.

We are actively commissioning new books for this series. If you have a proposal that you feel is appropriate, please contact the Publisher, Guy Loft.

It seems ironic that patients and first responders should suffer injuries en route to treatment

Posted by Luigi Fort, Senior Marketing Executive

‘It seems ironic that patients and first responders should suffer injuries en route to treatment.’

So says (the late) Robert L. Helmreich in the foreword to the new book, Safety and Quality in Medical Transport Systems. He continues:

‘I became aware of the pressure to take risks while transporting patients when I was asked by an organization concerned about its accident rate to analyze causal factors in MedEvac helicopter crashes. Analysis of accidents revealed contributing pressures, including the severity of injury and the youth of the patient as well as weather, night operations, and obstructions to flight.’

To counter such pressures it is essential to develop the right kind of culture within the organizations that provide this vital service. CAMTS (The Commission on Acccreditation of Medical Transport Systems) recognize this and have brought together this reference book to support such organizations in providing the necessary culture. This is an environment that supports risk assessment, accountability, professionalism and organizational dynamics.

Safety and Quality in Medical Transport SystemsSafety and Quality in Medical Transport Systems: Creating an Effective Culture is edited by John W. Overton, Jr. and Eileen Frazer, Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems, USA

Contributors: Ralph N. Rogers; K. Scott Griffith; Terry L. von Thaden; Clive Adams; Nadine Levick; Kimberly Turner; Bruce A. Tesmer; Robin Graham; Terry Palmer; Roger Coleman; Gregory H. Botz; John W. Crommett; Melissa M. Mallis; John W. Overton Jr; Laurie Shiparski; Philip D. Authier; Eileen Frazer; Donna York Clark; Kate Moore; David F.E. Stuhlmiller; Jacqueline Stocking; Jennifer Hardcastle; Sandra Kinkade Hutton; Patricia Corbett; Dawn M. Mancuso; Kenneth P. Neubauer; David P. Thomson.

Rhona Flin and Sidney Dekker are among the keynote speakers at the 10th Australian Aviation Psychology Association International Symposium later this month

‘Next Generation Safety’ is the conference theme at the AAvPA (Australian Aviation Psychology Association) International Symposium, taking place in Manly, Australia, 19-22 November 2012.

Among the keynote speakers are Rhona Flin, co-author of Safety at the Sharp End, and Sidney Dekker, whose Second Edition of Just Culture was published in June 2012.

Ashgate will be displaying an extensive selection of books, so if you’re at the conference do come along and take a look. If you’re not able to attend, you can always browse the Human Factors pages on our website…

Ashgate at the Building Fatigue Management into Safety Systems conference

Ashgate are a sponsor and exhibitor at the Building Fatigue Management into Safety Systems conference organised by the Royal Aeronautical Society’s Human Factors and Operations Training Group, 30 October, 2012, Crawley, UK. We are particularly pleased to support the Helen Muir Award which will be presented at the event.

At the conference Captain Daniel Maurino will introduce the SMS concept and its relationship to Human Factors. He is a series editor for Ashgate Studies in Human Factors for Flight Operations.