Human factors: What are they?

Human factors are the way people relate to their environment. Human factors are concerned with the human aspects that can affect the risk of a slip or trip, for example:
  • Communication: being able to understand safety instructions, signs and labels;
  • Fatigue: how tiredness can affect the ability to carry out a task;
  • Personality: how people react to instructions, eg ignore them, take risks;
  • Capability: asking someone to do something beyond their capability eg lack of training;
  • Behaviour: how people act, eg rushing around, taking short cuts,
  • Perception: ability to take in information about your environment, eg being distracted
Human factors are not always controllable, but many can be predictable.

Note: Young workers, new starters and workers with little understanding of English may be more likely to have an accident at work as they may not understand what they have been asked to do. Good instruction and supervision is vital if accidents are to be avoided.
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