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Human Factors Engineering

Human error is a causal factor in 60 to 80 percent of accidents and catastrophic events, often with large public and environmental consequences. By incorporating Human Factors Engineering into the design (or re-design) of a complex system, asset owners can dramatically reduce the existance of error likely operating environments and improve safety, operability, maintainability, and resiliency of their systems. Human Factors Engineering (HFE) uses a multidisciplinary approach to the design and optimization of complex, tightly-coupled systems such as those in the aerospace, nuclear power generation, petrochemical process, oil and gas exploration and production, transportation, and offshore marine operations, among others. HFE contemplates the interaction of the human operator with the entire system taking into consideration the technological, operational, physical and cultural environments. HFE uses methodologies from cognitive psychology, biomechanics, human performance, organizational behavior, industrial engineering, and economics to identify and correct error likely work environments. Fully integrating the human element into facility design and system operation is part of a robust risk management strategy to reduce operational and life-cycle costs as well as preventing loss.

ABS Consulting has the experience and expertise in Human Factors Engineering to provide quantitative and qualitative cognitive, ergonomic, and reliability analyses to eliminate error provocative systems and mitigate the effects of human error. The ABS Consulting Human Factors Engineering Group provides world-class HFE consulting and support services to clients, especially in process organizations with large consequential failure potential.

Human Factors Engineering Group Principles

The ABS Consulting Human Factors Engineering Group (HFE Group) provides comprehensive human factors engineering support in highly complex, tightly-coupled industries to eliminate or mitigate hazards, failures, and pecuniary losses from human error.

The HFE Group advances human-centered design and the optimization of complex system operations through the application of human factors engineering principles to: human-machine-environmental interfacing; integration of human physical and cognitive performance limitations; complex systems analysis and simulation for resilience, adaptation and failure; human-automation interaction and bias; personnel selection, readiness and training; organizational culture; and other human factors engineering methodologies which eliminate or reduce the probability and consequence of human error.

The HFE Group maintains a staff of dedicated, multidisciplinary human factors subject matter experts to conduct analyses, simulations, training, and forensic investigations involving human factors engineering issues.

The HFE Group strives to be the world leading focal point resource for human factors engineering analyses and support.

Services Provided

  • Human Factors Analysis (HFA)
  • Human Reliability Analysis (HRA)
  • Situational Awareness (SA) Studies
  • Human Performance, Perception and Cognition Studies
  • Human-machine Interface and Integration Design
  • Control Room Design, Task, Function and Link Analyses
  • Automation and Operator Alerting Systems Design
  • Ergonomics, Functionality and Usability Studies
  • Escape, Evacuation and Rescue Analysis (EERA)
  • Crashworthiness and Survivability Factors
  • Safety in Design Incorporating Human Factors
  • Valve and Instrument Criticality Analysis
  • Material Handling Studies
  • Complex System Procedural Task Analysis
  • Crew and Team Resource Management
  • Human Error Prevention Strategies
  • Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) Systems
  • Mishap Investigation and Reconstruction


Industries Served

  • Petrochemical Process Industries
  • Oil and Gas Onshore and Offshore Exploration and Production (E&P)
  • Offshore Marine and Dynamic Positioning Operations
  • Aviation and Aerospace Operations and Maintenance
  • Nuclear Power Generation
  • Electrical Power Generation
  • Wind Power Generation
  • Maritime, Rail and Heavy Over-the-road Transportation
  • Heavy Equipment Manufacturing
  • Medical and Healthcare Delivery

Critical Incident Response

The HFE Group supports ABSC critical incident response to catastrophic events for Root Cause Analysis (RCA) and incident investigation.


For more information, visit our Root Cause Analysis and Incident Investigation page.


Human Factors Training

Human Error Prevention

During this two-day course, attendees learn how to examine and categorize specific human errors to identify the conditions and situations that contributed to mistakes. Attendees also discover why most human mistakes are caused by error-provocative situations, which typically stem from weaknesses in the policies/practices that influence how organizations select, train, supervise, communicate with, and design workplaces for workers.

Condition Behavior Consequence Analysis

Most human performance techniques look only at the conditions in place prior to the behavior. They typically look at whether the training, procedures equipment, personnel, and tools are in place that allows the desired performance to be accomplished. However, they do not look at whether the appropriate incentives are in place so personnel want to execute the desired performance. This half-day course provides a practical, straightforward tool (CBC analysis, also known as antecedent behavior consequence analysis [ABC analysis]) to help identify practical solutions to human performance problems.

Root Cause Analysis (RCA) and Incident Investigation

Learn to use the license-fee-free SOURCE™ root cause analysis methodology for investigating incidents. This methodology will help attendees initiate a root cause analysis incident investigation, gather data for investigating all types of incidents, collect data through interviews and parts analyses, apply powerful techniques for causal factor identification, avoid future incidents by developing appropriate recommendations to address causal factors and root causes, structure reports for optimum effectiveness, develop your data-trending process to identify systemic problem areas, and more.

Advanced Root Cause Analysis (RCA)

This advanced, five-day course allows attendees to participate in additional workshops related to causal factor charting, cause and effect trees, interviewing, physical data analysis plans, near-miss definitions and reporting, trending, and metrics. Attendees also learn to use the license-fee-free SOURCE™ root cause analysis methodology for investigating incidents. In addition to learning incident investigation skills, attendees learn how to meet the requirements of standards and regulations for investigations of incidents with health, reliability, environmental, and quality impacts. Attendees also obtain an overview of how to structure an effective investigation program for their company, including how to define near misses, train others to recognize and report incidents, classify incidents for assigning the appropriate investigator(s), and trend data. You will take back to your company an example of a successful incident reporting and investigation program.

Maritime Root Cause Analysis (RCA) and Incident Investigation Awareness

This two-day course is designed for personnel who seek an efficient way to conduct a thorough investigation of complex incidents to help identify underlying causes and making effective recommendations. This course applies the process outlined in ABS Guidance Notes on the Investigation of Marine Incidents; training satisfies TMSA Element 8 and DPA Element 3. The ABS process helps attendees efficiently and effectively gather data and apply straightforward techniques for identifying causal factors and root causes.

Advanced Maritime Root Cause Analysis and Incident Investigation

This three-day course takes our popular Maritime RCA / Incident Investigation course farther. It trains attendees in additional techniques for addressing complex incidents that happen aboard or involve the vessel. Attendees obtain an overview of how to structure an effective investigation program for their company and a discussion of issues that could affect an investigation and the program. Attendees also gain access to incident investigation software that can help them quickly categorize root causes using an electronic version of the ABS Marine RCA Map and complete incident reports to flag administrations.

Job Safety Analysis (JSA)

During this two-day course, attendees learn the basics of the job safety analysis (JSA) process and ways to enhance the technique. In the basic approach, attendees learn how to identify job hazards and develop safe work practices for a task. With the enhanced approach, attendees also learn to quickly identify and address potential errors that may occur during the performance of the task using checklists of human factor considerations and guidewords. Attendees also discuss strategies for making the overall JSA process more efficient.

Conduct of Operations (COO) and Operational Discipline

This two-day course covers key aspects of Conduct of Operations (COO) such as operating procedures, communications, training, operator routines, configuration control, and investigation of abnormal events. Workshops will demonstrate how to make these practices a way of life in the operations organization.

Management of Change (MOC)

This course emphasizes hazard review techniques commonly used to evaluate changes. It also includes sections on improving existing programs for management of change (MOC) and pre-startup safety review (PSSR), plus special topics such as managing changes during the construction phase of major capital projects, managing personnel changes, and using software systems to manage change. Although the techniques covered in this course meet process safety management requirements, the focus is on effectiveness and efficiency, not simply complying with regulations.

Maintenance Planning and Scheduling

This course is designed to provide participants with a basic understanding of the role that Planning and Scheduling plays in Enterprise Asset Management. The importance of addressing cultural change when implementing Planning and Scheduling within an organization is discussed. The fundamental prerequisites to Planning and Scheduling, such as a Work Order system and an Asset Criticality process are examined. The roles and responsibilities of a Maintenance Planner and Scheduler are outlined, as well as the skills needed to successfully perform the roles.

Reliability and Operational Excellence

This course will demonstrate how the best plants are able to compete globally through the application of a reliability strategy - one that combines the best elements of Lean Manufacturing, TPM, RCM, Six Sigma and other methodologies as well as excellence in operations and maintenance practices. Through extensive case study examples, instructors will show you the right strategy for maximum production capacity by making fundamental changes in the way processes and equipment are designed, operated, and maintained.

Sound Safety Culture

It has been nearly 20 years since the promulgation of the OSHA process safety management (PSM) standard. Most covered operations have long had what they regard to be fully developed, mature PSM programs. However, all too often safety performance has failed to reach the desired goals, reached a plateau, or perhaps even degraded with time. This 2-day course addresses organizational culture as an intrinsic and key element in the successful implementation of both process safety and conventional safety programs. Learn to assess current plant culture, determine changes that need to be made, establish an environment to foster change, and measure the effect of culture change.





Human Factors Engineering
(720kb PDF)



For More Information

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