There are a lot of practical techniques available that are difficult to write about but really quite easy to do in practice. Now that video tools are available through services like YouTube it is now possible to provide information about these techniques in a way that is easier to understand.

My plan is to develop a collection of short video animations. I hope they will help you if you have never had a go at using the techniques, or will be a useful refresher for something you may not have done for a while.

These are all techniques that I use frequently, and I believe they are highly practical and effective. In making the videos I have aimed to give you the benefit of my experience.

Note: The only problem you may have is that the videos are hosted on YouTube. A lot of companies block access to this website. You may need to try them at home.

Causal TreeCausal Tree Analysis provides a means of analysing the critical human errors and technical failures that have contributed to an incident or accident in order to determine the root causes.  It is a graphical technique that is simple to perform and very flexible, allowing you to map out exactly what you think happened rather than being constrained to accident causation model.  The diagrams developed provide useful summaries to include in incident and accident reports that give people a good overview of the key issues.

Hierarchical Task AnalysisHierarchical Task Analysis is an excellent method of capturing how tasks are performed in a systematic and structured fashion. It is a graphical technique that allows groups to work on the analysis together.  This is useful for identifying different practices and for developing a consensus on what constitutes best practice.

Hierarchical Task Analysis is particularly useful when developing procedures, training plans and competency systems.  Also, being hierarchical it is particularly suited to new projects as it can be developed in conjunction with the design.

Human Error AnalysisHuman Error Analysis (also known as Task HAZOP) provides a systematic method of considering the possible errors and other human failures that may occur when performing a task.  A check-list of error types is used as a prompt to ensure all the most relevant failure types are considered.  This is similar to HAZOP, which is a widely used technique for assessing process safety.

Using a laptop and data projector, groups can participate in the HEA.  This helps demystify the topic of human error.  By involving the right people (typically those who have practical experience of doing the task), the method helps you to evaluate your current approach to managing human factors risks and to identify anything else that can be done to effectively reduce the risks.