Human Factors Program: Year in Review

Human Factors Program: Year in Review

3-minute read
Human Factors

As the new calendar year approaches, the Human Factors Task Force (HFTF) started reflecting on its many achievements over the past 12 months. The team gained new members, offered and developed more training, and integrated Human Factors into the agency mishap reporting system.

“I’m very proud of what my team has accomplished this year,” said Tracy Dillinger, Human Factors technical manager. “Studying Human Factors and integrating them into mishap investigations is vital for the agency to avoid repeating mistakes, making the agency a safer place for everyone.”

HFTF Welcomed New NASAHFACS Graduates

The HFTF hosted its second NASA Human Factors Analysis and Classifications System (NASAHFACS) training and certification course in July, gaining 37 new graduates. The course was taught virtually through Microsoft Teams due to telework restrictions.

“I thought it was quite effective.  As close to in-person training as one can get,” said Dawn Martin, HFTF co-chair, “We were able to use the Teams functionality for everything, including the breakouts for case studies.”

During the three-day certification, participants learned the concepts and information necessary to perform Human Factors analyses, including how to code mishaps for Human Factors concerns, contribute to the agency database, and use NASAHFACS proactively in programs. Susan Schuh, International Space Station (ISS) Operational Habitability Team lead, presented the Extravehicular Activity (EVA) 23 (ISS EVA Suit Water Intrusion) Case Study, which prompted engagement and questions from the participants.

The HFTF is hosting its third NASAHFACS training and certification course on Jan. 19-21, 2021. Read “Upcoming Virtual Human Factors Training and Certification” to learn how to sign up.

New Members Joined the HFTF

Martin stepped into the role of Human Factors Program co-chair, succeeding Nick Kiriokos, who served in the role for two years. Frank Olinger, Stennis Space Center, and Dr. Joel Lachter, Ames Research Center, joined the team this past year.

Not only did the HFTF gain new agency members, it also welcomed two Human Factors consultants. Dr. Douglas A. Weigmann and Dr. Scott A. Shappell, creators of the Human Factors Analysis and Classification System (HFACS), provide the team with a deeper perspective on how Human Factors is being interpreted and used across the industry and medical fields. NASAHFACS is a byproduct of the original work. “It’s not just aviation,” said Martin. “Their knowledge expands to medical, airline industry, fire departments, academia and military.”

Human Factors Program Annual Reports Available

The Human Factors annual reports are now available for anyone wanting to read the summary analysis of operational-related Type A, B, C, and D Mishaps; Close Calls; and High-Visibility Events and compare data to years prior. The 2019 annual report found the top five Human Factors category trends were Decision-Making, Communications, Technical Environment, Inadequate Supervision and Adverse Psychological.

Read “See What’s Trending: Human Factors Annual Reports Available” to learn more. To view the 2017, 2018 and 2019 annual reports, visit the Human Factors Community of Practice and request access, if needed.

HFACS Module Released in NMIS

The HFTF and the NASA Safety Center added a new module into the NASA Mishap Information System (NMIS) for capturing and analyzing Human Factors. The new module was released in April and allows designated experts to code a NMIS record for causes per the NASAHFACS.

“The codes from the NASAHFACS taxonomy are infused from the start, which makes analysis easier at the end,” said Martin

Future Plans

The HFTF rolled out a Human Factors Analysis and Classification System (HFACS) seminar, geared toward NASA personnel interested in learning advanced applications of HFACS. This seminar will be offered personnel who have used HFACS in their work in 2021 virtually through Microsoft Teams.

During the instructor-led seminar, participants will learn advanced applications of HFACS, as well as tools for addressing errors identified by the system — called the Human Factors Intervention Matrix (HFIX) — and Feasibility, Acceptability, Cost, Effectiveness and Safety (FACES). This seminar is available to participants with introductory certificates in HFACS who have applied HFACS to a mishap investigation or a case study. Certified analysts will receive advanced training in HFACS, HFIX and FACES.

For more information on the Human Factors Program, contact Martin or Dillinger.