Human factors is an integral part of achieving successful organisational and health and safety performance. It is a discipline which focuses on the human element to understand and improve the interaction between people and complex systems. In the process industries, human factors is concerned with human behaviour and performance, particularly in relation to reducing the risk of incidents and accidents.
Many factors influence health and safety performance and behaviour and there are recurring themes related to how people have contributed to major accidents in the past. Applying human factors requires consideration of the depth of the different topic areas, whilst recognising the breadth of coverage and the need to approach the subject from a holistic perspective. Typically, it is challenging to know where to start, and to know which specific Human factors areas should be prioritised.
The Human Factors Maturity Model (HFMM) was developed by the Keil Centre to enable organisations to assess their own level of Human Factors Maturity (Human Factors Maturity is a registered trademark of The Keil Centre Ltd). The model presents an opportunity for organisations to assess how mature they are in managing human factors, but importantly, to pinpoint where to focus future efforts. The HFMM uses a 5-level scale to determine an organisation's level of maturity. It includes 12 key human factors elements which have been identified from empirical research and from mining human factors literature. The model was developed using the combined expertise of seven human factors specialists at the Keil Centre and tested with the cooperation of an industry partner.
The model was further developed into an interactive tool for application in a workshop format. A cross-section of organisational representatives is invited to participate to assess their current level of Human Factors Maturity for each of the 12 elements using a card-sort methodology. Once the level for each element has been determined, the current arrangements are described and the requirements to improve maturity to the next level for each element are identified. At this point, the priorities for action are defined based on their importance to the organisation, taking account of the elements most in need of development. This assessment supports the development of a human factors strategy and an action plan. The HFMM has been tested in the energy and chemical production sectors.