Human Factor

Starting date
May 7, 2019
Duration (months)
36
Departments
Human Sciences
Managers or local contacts
Ceschi Andrea

The term “human factor” refers to the study of people within complex systems, in terms of the tools they have at their disposal. When applied to organizational contexts, it refers to the field of occupational safety to maintain the mental and physical well-being of people in the workplace (Shorrock & William, 2016). One of the ways in which organizations can promote and foster safe behaviors is through the provision of training interventions (Pietrantoni & Prati, 2010). By this, we do not mean just providing occupational safety courses; in fact, there are a number of soft skills that, if developed, can increase the level of safety in high-risk organizational settings.
An example of a high-risk industry is aviation (Dekker, 2010). The potential critical issues in aviation are high, and the risks associated with intervention activities increase. The complex systems employed in this sector, characterized by human-machine and human-team interactions, imply the possibility of human error, which is the leading cause of workplace reports and accidents (Flin et al., 2004; Shappell et al., 2017). Therefore, proper risk identification and accurate accident analysis based on human interaction are critical elements in managing safety levels. In the aviation industry, and in any high-risk organization, the development of good collaboration and leadership skills is critical, as emergency operations can severely affect the cohesion of team members. The ability to communicate effectively, work as a team, and make effective decisions under pressure have been addressed in many industry studies that have led to the development of an assessment system called Non-Technical Skills (NOTES). The APRESO Research Center participated in a project that allowed the development and application of an instrument (NOTECHS+) capable of detecting and measuring these skills (cooperation, leadership and management skills, decision-making and situational awareness) as well as constructs related to emotion regulation. The use of NOTECHS+ allows us to understand the strengths and limitations of employees in the above dimensions and to provide specific training that can strengthen the non-technical skills needed to deal with highly stressful work situations.
Research is not limited to studying the risks associated with work tasks within organizational environments. One area of research related to safety in organizations focuses on safety during commuting or traveling to and from work. Some work activities, such as business calls, are often conducted or completed during the commute from work to home. This phenomenon illustrates how daily workloads can affect workers’ safety behaviors while commuting. Examples of unsafe behaviors include smartphone use while driving or walking.
The APRESO Research Center, in collaboration with the CARRS-Q Center at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), is investigating the impact that excessive work demands may have on stress and driving safety during the work-home commute, and whether individual variables, such as personality traits, may have an effect on this relationship. Studies such as these aim to predict, as far as possible, the occurrence of work-related risky behaviors by identifying their external and internal antecedents from a risk prevention perspective.

References
Bakker, A. B., & Demerouti, E. (2007). The job demands‐resources model: State of the art. Journal of managerial psychology.
Baldetti, G., Ghezzi, G., Ghiringhelli, C., & Nacamulli, R. C.(2015). Simulando s’ impara. Progettare e gestire ambienti complessi di apprendimento. Il caso Enav Academy. FrancoAngeli.
Dekker, S. (2010). Pilots, controllers and mechanics on trial: cases, concerns and countermeasures. Int. J. Appl. Aviat. Stud. 10, 31–50.
Flin, R., O’Connor, P., and Mearns, K. (2002). Crew resource management: improving team work in high reliability industries. Team Perform. Manag. Int. J. 8, 68–78.
Mitchell, L., and Flin, R. (2008). Non-technical skills of the operating theatre scrub nurse: literature review. J. Adv. Nurs. 63, 15–24.
Pietrantoni, L. “Psychosocial Predictors of Safety Behaviors Among Emergency Workers.” Psicologia sociale 5.1 (2010): 101–113.
Salas, E., Burke, C. S., and Samman, S. N. (2001). Understanding command and control teams operating in complex environments. Inf. Knowl. Syst. Manage. 2, 311–323.
Salvendy, G. (1985). Has ergonomics the same meaning in Europe and North America?. In I. D. Brown, R. Goldsmith, & M. A. Sinclair (Eds.), Ergonomics international 85 (pp.97-98). London: Taylor & Francis.
Shappell, S., Detwiler, C., Holcomb, K., Hackworth, C., Boquet, A., and Wiegmann, D. A. (2017). Human error and commercial aviation accidents: an analysis using the human factors analysis and classification system. Human Error Aviat.
Shorrock, S., & Williams, C. (Eds.). (2016). Human Factors and Ergonomics in Practice: Improving System Performance and Human Well-Being in the Real World (1st ed.). CRC Press.

Sponsors:

Funds: assigned and managed by an external body

Project participants

Andrea Ceschi
Associate Professor
Riccardo Sartori
Associate Professor
Research areas involved in the project
Formazione e organizzazioni
work and organizational psychology
Publications
Title Authors Year
The NOTECHS+: A Short Scale Designed for Assessing the Non-technical Skills (and more) in the Aviation and the Emergency Personnel Ceschi, Andrea; Costantini, Arianna; Zagarese, Vivian; Avi, Eleonora; Sartori, Riccardo 2019

Activities

Research facilities

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