IA8.4 Explain appropriate methods of improving individual human reliability in the workplace

Element IA8: Human factors

5.1 Unit IA: Managing health and safety

Aim of the unit

This unit provides learners with a thorough grounding in all major aspects of managing health and safety. It aims to prepare learners for a career in health and safety by providing them with the ability to apply their knowledge and understanding of health and safety management issues in the workplace. In addition, this knowledge and understanding prepares learners for the written question paper assessment in Unit IA and the practical application (Unit DNI) which will be carried out in their own workplace.

Learning outcomes

IA8.1 Outline psychological and sociological factors which may give rise to specific patterns of safe and unsafe behaviour in the working environment

IA8.2 Explain the nature of the perception of risk and its relationship to performance in the workplace

IA8.3 Explain the classification of human failure

IA8.4 Explain appropriate methods of improving individual human reliability in the workplace

IA8.5 Explain how organisational factors can contribute to improving human reliability

IA8.6 Explain how job factors can contribute to improving human reliability

IA8.7 Outline the principles, conditions and typical content of behavioural change programmes designed to improve safe behaviour in the workplace.


IA8.1 Human psychology, sociology and behaviour

• The meaning of the terms psychology and sociology

• The influence of personality, attitude, aptitude and motivation on human behaviour

• Key theories of human motivation: Mayo (Hawthorne experiments), Maslow (hierarchy of needs), Vroom, Blanchard and their relevance to health and safety

• Effects of experience, social and cultural background, education and training on behaviour at work.

IA8.2 Perception of risk

• Human sensory receptors and their reaction to stimuli, sensory defects and basic screening techniques

• The process of perception of danger, perceptual set and perceptual distortion

• Errors in perception caused by physical stressors

• Perception and the assessment of risk, perception and the limitations of human performance, filtering and selectivity as factors for perception.

IA8.3 Human failure classification

• HSG48 classification of human failure

• Cognitive processing; knowledge-based, rule-based and skill-based behaviour (Rasmussen)

• Contribution of human failure to serious incidents.

IA8.4 Improving individual human reliability in the workplace

• Motivation and reinforcement; workplace incentive schemes; job satisfaction and appraisal schemes

• Selection of individuals – matching skills and aptitudes; training and competence assessment; fitness for work

• Health surveillance; support for ill-health including mental health problems.

IA8.5 Organisational factors

• The effect of weaknesses in the health and safety management system on the probability of human failure, eg, inadequacies in the setting of standards, policy, planning, information responsibilities or monitoring

• The influence of formal and informal groups within an organisation

• Organisational communication mechanisms and their impact on human failure probability, eg, shift handover communication, organisational communication routes and their complexity, reliability and degree of formality.

IA8.6 Job factors

• The effect of job factors on the probability of human error (eg, task complexity, patterns of employment, payment systems, shift work)

• The application of task analysis in predicting the probability and prevention of error

• The role of ergonomics in job design: - the influence of process and equipment design on human reliability

- the worker and the workstation as a system

- elementary physiology and anthropometry

- the degradation of human performance resulting from poorly designed workstations

• Ergonomically designed control systems in relation to human reliability ie, examples of applications: production process control panels, crane cab controls, aircraft cockpit, CNC lathe, etc

• The relationship between physical stressors and human reliability

• The effects of under-stimulation, fatigue and stress on human reliability.

IA8.7 Behavioural change programmes

• The principles of behavioural change programmes

• The organisational conditions needed for success in behavioural change programmes

• Examples of the content of typical behavioural change programmes.

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