Human Factors Further Course

Further Human Factors Training Course Programme (CIEHF Accredited)



A two-day advanced training course in Human Factors.


The discipline of Human Factors (HF) is otherwise known as ergonomics, human performance engineering, user-centred design, usability engineering or people-related requirements. This course takes to a higher level some of the themes developed in the basic course, and introduces new concepts in the challenging areas of anthropometry, task analysis and human error.

On completion of this course, delegates can be expected to be conversant with the core areas of the subject and the improvements good HF practice can make to safety, efficiency and productivity.

This training course has been recognised by the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors, and trainees receive a certificate from the Institute, that can be used for Continuous Professional Development.

Target audience

The course is designed for delegates with a deep interest in the subject or with a need to know more than just the fundamentals. It is valuable to personnel from most industrial sectors, including defence and manufacturing, such as:

  • Engineers and designers who make decisions affecting the operability of a new or modified item of equipment.
  • Project managers, support managers and operations managers requiring an understanding of HF for effective decision-making at all points in the project lifecycle.
  • Production managers wishing to enhance productivity and reduce staffing costs without prejudicing safety.
  • Leaders of Project Teams who need a fuller understanding of the requirements and benefits of Human Factors to system operability.

Objectives and Utility

On completion of this course, delegates will have a working understanding of Human Factors. They can be expected to be aware of the importance and value of a person-centred approach and possess some familiarity with the practice of the subject.

The knowledge they gain from the course will benefit them professionally and benefit their sponsoring organisation through improved product design, safety and productivity.

The Training Process

There are ten complementary modules each lasting around an hour, spread over the two days. The course presentation is largely audio-visual, but practical exercises encourage delegate participation and reinforce the key principles. The course adopts an analytic and incisive approach to the subject area, with minimal technical jargon and an accessible style.

All delegates are issued with a comprehensive course booklet and certificate of attendance.

Exercises for the trainees will be based on their interests and needs.


The course is presented by InterAction of Bath, a consultancy that since its foundation in 1991 has developed considerable expertise in Human Factors and related disciplines. The emphasis on the quality of the deliverables will ensure that those who attend this course will find it valuable.

Further Human Factors Course Programme

Day 1

Module 1: What is Human Factors?

This brief introductory module defines Human Factors and its history. The module provides delegates with an overview of the Human Factors approach. The core areas are listed and the typical benefits of HF are explained.

The module concludes with a number of high-profile disasters, in order to stimulate thought and discussion on the role of HF in preventing major accidents. Case studies include the Zeebrugge ferry sinking, the Ladbroke Grove train crash, the Kegworth air crash and the Three Mile Island nuclear meltdown. In each case, the sequence of events is described and the HF failings are identified with the participation of the delegates.

Module 2: Physical ergonomics

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations are introduced, and the responsibilities they place on employers and employees to reduce the risk of injury are discussed. The basic anatomy of the spine is demonstrated and the possible injuries arising from lifting operations are described. Techniques for assessing musculoskeletal risk from lifting, pushing and pulling are introduced, including the HSE filter, the NIOSH equation, the HSE’s Manual Handling Assessment Charts and various software tools. Methods of preventing risk focus in turn on the task design, the individual and the load being lifted. Good lifting techniques are presented and practised, and a selection of lifting aids is presented.

The cardiovascular system is presented in the context of the physical workload that can be sustained by the heart, blood and lungs. The module concludes with a discussion of other types of injuries that can be sustained at work.

Practical session 1: Delegates will have the opportunity to assess the risk posed by an example manual handling task

Module 3: Workstation design

This is the first of the modules dealing with the detail of achieving high levels of operability. A suitable workstation design must take account of the users’ anthropometry, biomechanics (including posture) and vision. The module explains the common fallacies of workstation design and replaces them with an ergonomic approach. The sources and the methods using anthropometric data are described. Basic workstation design principles are described which support good working posture of the operator. The main assessment methodologies for posture are described and appraised. The optimal positioning of controls and displays is described.

Module 4: Human Factors Integration

This module summarises the origins and principles of integrating Human Factors into defence procurement. The seven HFI domains are introduced and explained.

For every defence project there are many HFI management activities and HFI technical activities. The CADMID cycle is presented and the content and timings of these activities are described. The HFI Strategy, Early Human Factors Analysis, Human Factors Risk Register, Human Factors Working Group and HFI Plan are all explained. Key documents are described, in particular Human Factors standard DefStan 00-250.

Module 5: Environmental ergonomics

This module explains the fundamental technical and regulatory issues pertinent to maintaining a work environment that is optimal for safety, comfort and efficiency. It discusses temperature, lighting, noise, vibration and air quality. In each case, the units of measurement are discussed, relevant legislation is described and the methods of mitigating adverse health and performance effects are presented.

Module 6: Cognitive ergonomics

The module discusses the various cognitive concepts underlying workplace activities. The first is the measurement (SWAT scales) and prediction (VACP analysis) of mental workload. Wickens’ model of Multiple Resource Theory is introduced. The background of the theory and its successes and failures are discussed. The module goes on to discuss sleep and the effect of fatigue and shift-work on cognition.

The final topic in this module is signal detection theory – a theoretical look at the way we discriminate signals from background noise.

Further Human Factors Day 2

Module 7: Human Error Assessment

An understanding of human error is essential for the managers and operators of all types of socio-technical systems, whether civil or military. This module begins by defining error and exploring its causes, types and contexts. It then examines the major techniques available for identifying and quantifying error in new or legacy systems: THERP, HEART and SLIM. The modifying role of performance shaping factors on error likelihood is explained. The module concludes by examining ways of mitigating the probability and the effect of human error.

Practical session 2: Delegates estimate the Human Error Probability of typical industrial tasks.

Module 8: Human-computer interaction

Effective human-computer interaction (HCI) is critical in high-reliability industries. This module begins by explaining the importance of understanding mental models in the design of usable interfaces. Principles of good design practice are presented, under the general themes of layout, labelling, consistency, selection of control and display types, text size and feedback. The module outlines some of the common mistakes made by designers of computer interfaces.

Standards and regulations relevant to interface design are referenced and summarised, in particular the Regulations governing the design of Display Screen Equipment (DSE) workstations. Delegates are taught the correct DSE workstation setup and are given the opportunity to perform an assessment in a practical exercise.

Future HCI technologies are discussed, including automatic speech recognition, gesture recognition and haptic interfaces.

Module 9: Task analysis

Task analysis is central to the Human Factors approach. In order to improve the design of task, equipment of process, the analyst must have a clear understanding of what the operator is doing, what he is using, where he is located and how long he is taking. This module presents the main methods of task analysis available to the analyst, detailing the advantages and disadvantages of each.

The principal methodology, Hierarchical Task Analysis (HTA), is discussed in detail. Delegates have an opportunity to apply HTA to a simple task. Link analysis, timeline analysis, verbal protocols, activity sampling and sequential sampling are presented and evaluated. The concept of the ‘repertory grid’ is introduced and its value is discussed. The various computer tools for task analysis are compared.

Practical session 3: Delegates try their hand at constructing a task hierarchy for an everyday task.

Module 10: Industrial Psychology

This module begins with basic discussion of the psychological concepts relevant to an industrial setting. It moves on to describe the ‘psychological contract’ made between staff and employer, illustrating how this underpins teamwork, trust and efficiency Company ethics and organisational culture are discussed, particularly as they affect employees.

An understanding of individual differences in perception is increasingly important as the focus of attention in our society moves steadily from physical to mental work.

Appraisal, discussion and wash-up: The delegates are asked to consider a number of questions whose solutions involve the application of some of the Human Factors information given in the course.

The course material is summarized and there is a final opportunity for questions, answers and discussion.