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New control room technologies : human factors analytical tools for railway safety
journal contributionposted on 2017-12-06, 00:00 authored by Elise CrawfordElise Crawford, Yvonne ToftYvonne Toft, Ryan KiftRyan Kift
Inadequate consideration of human factors has been found to be a leading cause of unwanted consequences associated with control room systems. To guard against these events, many safety regulators have mandated that human factors are to be addressed as part of safety management, with Australian railways receiving the national mandate in January 2013. At the moment, as is the case in many parts of the world, Australian railways do not have their own dedicated standard or guide on how to integrate human factors. Fourtunately, understanding of human factors in work systems has advanced significantly since the 1980s and a growing professional body of specialists is emerging. Alongside systems engineers and project managers, many human factors specialists are involved in the design of new systems. By attending to the contextual details, designs become more compatible with their human counterparts and numerous analytical tools and techniques have been developed for this purpose. Therefore, it would be advantageous for railway operators and systems engineers to know the types of activites human factors specilists are involved in and how they might contribute to human factors integration. A literature review was conducted to identify the integration approaches used by technology designers and various safety-critical domains. Additionally, a study was conducted to identify the human factors analytical tools and techniques that are typically used in control room settings. Findings from the study provide a useful snapshot of the types of activities human factors professionals are involved in, the tools and techniques they use and the areas currently being addressed that benefit from closer human factors attention.