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  • Julian Talbot

Human Factors Analysis and Classification System (HFACS)

The US Department of Defense (DoD) Human Factors Analysis and Classification System (HFACS) is a framework for understanding and analyzing human factors in accidents and incidents. It is used by military and civilian organizations worldwide to improve safety and reduce the risk of accidents and incidents occurring. The HFACS framework is organized into four levels, each focusing on a different aspect of human factors.


This is an image summarizing the US DoD Human Factors Analysis and Classification System (HFACS)
Human Factors Analysis and Classification System (HFACS)

The first level of the HFACS framework is called "unsafe acts." This level focuses on the actions or behaviors of individuals that contribute to accidents or incidents. Examples of unsafe acts include violating rules or procedures, ignoring warning signs, or taking unnecessary risks. By identifying and addressing the unsafe acts of individuals, organizations can reduce the likelihood of accidents and incidents occurring.


The second level of the HFACS framework is called "preconditions for unsafe acts." This level focuses on the environmental and organizational factors that create the conditions in which unsafe acts can occur. Examples of preconditions for unsafe acts include inadequate training, poor communication, or inadequate equipment. Organizations can create a safer workplace environment by addressing the preconditions for unsafe acts.


The third level of the HFACS framework is called "unsafe supervision." This level focuses on the role of supervisors and managers in promoting safe behaviors and ensuring that employees follow the rules and procedures. Examples of unsafe supervision include failing to train employees, enforcing rules and procedures, or properly addressing unsafe behaviors. By improving the quality of supervision, organizations can reduce the risk of accidents and incidents occurring.


The fourth and final level of the HFACS framework is called "organizational influences." This level focuses on the broader organizational factors contributing to accidents and incidents. Examples of organizational influences include inadequate resources, poor communication, or inadequate policies and procedures. Organizations can create a safer and more efficient work environment by addressing the organizational influences that contribute to accidents and incidents.


Swiss-Cheese Model Using HFACS
Swiss-Cheese Model Using HFACS

In conclusion, the US DoD HFACS framework is a powerful tool for understanding and analyzing human factors in accidents and incidents. By examining the four framework levels, organizations can identify the root causes of accidents and incidents and implement effective risk management strategies to reduce the likelihood of these events occurring.

HFACS can be a valuable tool for root cause analysis investigations
Root Cause Analysis

If you found this article informative and want to learn more about risk management, check out the other articles on www.juliantalbot.com.

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