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Ergonomics and human factors

People are involved in all aspects of work. That is why HSE recognises the important role ergonomics and human factors can play in helping to avoid accidents and ill health at work.

Human factors are concerned with three interrelated areas:

The job

This includes the nature of the task, the workload, the working environment, the design of displays and controls, and training to carry out the job.

The individual

This includes their competence, skills, personality, attitude, and risk perception. Individual characteristics influence behaviour in complex ways. Some characteristics (such as personality) are fixed, whereas others (such as skills and attitudes) may be changed or enhanced.

The organisation

This includes work patterns, the culture of the workplace, resources, communications, leadership etc. Such factors are often overlooked during the design of jobs but have a significant influence on individual and group behaviour.

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Updated 2012-08-30