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Human Factors Integration is the process adopted by a number of key industries (notably defence and hazardous industries such as oil & gas) in Europe to integrate human factors elements into the systems engineering process. Although each industry has a slightly different domain the underlying approach is the same.
In essence tries to reconcile the top down nature of system engineering with the iterative nature of a user centred design approach (ISO 13407). It often does this by creating a Human Factors Integration Plan (HFIP) that sits alongside the system development plan. The purpose of the HFIP is to define how the Human Factors Engineering activities necessary for the successful delivery of a particular system will be conducted.
It establishes the guiding principles to be followed by the project to implement the best-practice Human Factors methods. As well as the principles involved, the Plan normally describes the organisation, processes and controls necessary over the entire life cycle of the system from the concept phase through to decommissioning.
HFI undertakes this by conducting a formal process that identifies and reconciles human related issues. These issues are split for conv enience into domains. Huw Walters defined these as;
Manpower - The number of military and civilian personnel required and potentially available to operate, maintain, sustain and provide training for systems
Personnel - The cognitive and physical capabilities required to be able to train for, operate, maintain and sustain systems.
Training–The instruction or education, and on-the-job or unit training required to provide personnel their essential job skills, knowledge, values and attributes.
Human Factors Engineering - The integration of human characteristics into system definition, design, development, and evaluation to optimise human-machine performance under operational conditions.
Health Hazard Assessment - Short or long term hazards to health occurring as a result of normal operation of the system.
System Safety–Safety risks occurring when the system is functioning in an abnormal manner.
Some industries also include habitability as a separate domain.
The HFI plan scope defines the relationship between all the activities and the Human Factors domains and provides a systematic approach to ensure that:
- The human role in the system is defined to optimise human performance in relation to the core system architecture and ancillary equipment.
- Adequate human-equipment analyses and trade-off studies are performed, revisiting the assumptions throughout the system life cycle. The process is iterative. As the programme progresses, the HF activities involve greater depth of analysis.
- Biomedical analysis and design support includes the environmental protection necessary to promote health and safety, and the capability for safe operation and maintenance of the core architecture and ancillary equipment.
- Training characteristics (materials, environment, evaluation criteria, etc.) for system personnel are identified.
- System testing and evaluation is conducted to verify that users can safely and effectively operate, maintain and support equipment in its intended environment.
- The design meets agreed operational performance standards and where this is not the case, to modify the design or associated training in such a way that the resultant manned system meets the required standards.
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