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The importance of Human Factors in engineering

Published: 5 June 2012Origin: Engineering

Neville Stanton, Professor of Human Factors in Transport, believes it is vital to learn lessons from accidents and incidents so engineers can make and suggest improvements to systems.

He has co-authored a new book examining what went wrong in dozens of high profile and more everyday examples. They include the Metropolitan Police shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes in Stockwell, the Lyme Bay sea canoeing tragedy and the Ladbroke Grove train crash. Human Factors Methods and Accident Analysis (Ashgate) looks at how different methods of analysing and investigating accidents can be used in practice. It has been designed as a practical guide for professionals and academics working in the field.

Neville is also interested in improving the way systems work through better design and increased understanding of how people use technology. “We need to get into the minds of individuals who use the equipment and devices invented by engineers. Human Factors methods enable us to do this.”

His current work embraces a wide range of areas such as cockpit design in civil aircraft and automation of automobiles.

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