Uncovering Hidden Secrets: Using The Human Factors Analysis and Classification System – HFACS – To Uncover The Underlying Causes Of Human Error

Workshop 7

Date: Tuesday, October 9, 2022
Time: 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Location: TBA

Rick Pollock, CSP, ASP
Rivendell Safety Consulting, LLC

Actions and behaviors are usually easy to pinpoint and define following an incident.   We all can see the rule that was violated, the PPE that was disregarded, the warning that was ignored, or the failure to follow certain procedures designed to limit risk.  However, beyond the obvious behavior of those involved, what led up to the incident?  This session will help you look at accidents, crashes, mishaps and incidents of all kind in a completely different way.  You will begin to see there are “hidden secrets” everywhere in an organization that can be uncovered to improve your safety performance.

Leading up to the turn of this century great strides had been made in air craft design and operational safety.  The number of fatal crashes, both commercial and military, had dropped dramatically in the years between 1960 and 2000.  Improved engineering design and technological support had created airplanes that were considered very safe.  However, crashes were still occurring at an unacceptable rate; with even one fatal crash being too many!  All too often the cause was listed as “pilot error”, and since the pilot(s) often perished in the crash there was very little understanding of what happened that caused the crash.  After a series of fatal crashes in the US military during the mid-1990’s, it was clear that something had to be done to better understand how these perfectly safe airplanes were being flown into the ground!  What was causing pilot error?

The Human Factors Analysis and Classification System, known as HFACS, was developed by the US Naval Air Command and the Department of Transportation in an effort to better understand this phenomenon of “pilot error”.   Based on the work of James Reason and his understanding of organizational and system influences on behavior, psychologists Scott Shappell, PhD. and Doug Wiegmann, PhD. worked to perfect an investigative system that could be used by investigators to better define potential influences that preceded a crash.  Now used for over 20 years, HFACS has been tremendously successful in improving not only military air crashes, but commercial crashes as well.  Now used by industries as diverse and mining, waste and recycling, construction, nuclear energy, manufacturing and food processing and packaging, the HFACS system has been proven to be invaluable in finding deep-seeded organization and system influences that can lead to human error.

This seminar will provide an in-depth understanding of the Human Factors Analysis and Classification System and how it may be applied to any organization to reduce risk and improve overall safety performance.  

Richard A. Pollock, CSP, ASP

Rick Pollock is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater and a Certified Safety Professional (CSP, ASP). He was the President and founder of CLMI Safety Training, and now through Rivendell Safety Consulting, LLC is a full time safety and organizational performance consultant.   Areas of professional specialization include: organizational performance, adult education, work complexity and human error, and safety management systems.  

Mr. Pollock is a Professional Member of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) and was ASSE’s 98th Society President.  He currently serves as a Director and Vice President on the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP) and on the Advisory Boards of the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health and NIOSH Education Resource Center, and the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater Department of Occupational & Environmental Safety.  Rick is the BCSP representative to the International Network of Safety and Health Practitioner Organizations (INSHPO) and is President Elect.

Through study and hands-on experience, Mr. Pollock has developed a unique understanding of human error in the context of work and error tolerant systems design.  He shares his perspective through published articles, frequent speaking engagements, and his Safety Leadership blog on the Rivendell website.  Rick is a trained instructor in the Human Factors Analysis and Classification System (HFACS), and consults with clients to help define their human error issues and appropriate interventions.