To have a successful HF program we have to know about human capabilities. How is data obtained, interpreted, manipulated, and acted on? The field of anatomy provides information concerning body size, reach characteristics, and other anthropometric qualities. The field of physiology, finally, provides data concerning physiological limitations for energetic and sustained activities.
One characteristic of the human component which separates it from the machine is the manner in which it fails. When seriously overloaded, a machine component will tend to fail suddenly. It will simply break. On the other hand, humans just get tired and begin to disregard things considered less important and concentrate only on the central elements of the task. By so doing, a human can maintain a significant measure of system performance beyond the point where a totally mechanized system will fail. However, overall performance reliability will be impaired during this period because of HF.
Reliability of human performance is a key element to be addressed during a HF analysis. A machine, when working perfectly, generally will exhibit reliability many times better than that of a human. The object, however, is to match the human and the machine components together so that overall system reliability can be improved over what can be achieved independently.
Current technologies can give maintenance workers access to training, technical, and procedural information without a need for tons of paper and can present this information in a more interesting way to those who must use it. Since the benefits seem so obvious, and the training resources are available let's continue to make progress through HF training programs.
Here is the key to a viable HF program: Awareness + Prevention = Compliance. Awareness requires top management support, banners, posters, incentives, ongoing training, trend analysis, HF Awareness Day/Week, HF boards, and continuous improvement. Prevention includes total employee involvement, standardized approaches to error prevention, tool control, hazardous materials control, FOD prevention, scheduled and unscheduled HF training, safety procedures/meetings, equipment and parts accountability, and good housekeeping. Compliance encompasses meeting the industry standard and if applicable military standard, federal, state and local regulations, internal procedures for control, self-audits, spot inspections, correcting problems on the spot, comfortable environment, and zero in-flight and ground incidents. Compliance helps protect the airworthiness and serviceability of aircraft.
Despite the fact that many people are taking the initiative to reduce errors, we can't just rely on the system. Prevention of errors is based on human factors. An organization can prevent errors, which causes aircraft damage, if every one is doing their part. We can't rely on someone else to keep errors at a minimum. It's good professional practice to "give a damn." People contribute to the HF problems and only people can prevent the results. We have to get all the people, and management and the bean-counters to buy in to human factors, with possible associated costs. You are going to have to sell human factors programs, like any other program, on the fact that there is an impact on aircraft airworthiness, serviceability and reliability. We have to "keep 'em flying."
You can learn much more about the topics in this article and read an expanded text by reviewing the Federal Aviation Administration CD titled Human Factors in Aviation Maintenance and Inspection, Thirteen Years of Research and Development, hfskyway.faa.gov. The CD contains human factors training material. AMT
Specification 113 Guidance for human factors program development By Fred Workley June 1999 Fred Workley is the president of Workley Aircraft and Maintenance Inc. in Manassas...
The new AC 145-10 training advisory circular has arrived. The deadline for compliance will vary as per the advisory circular but April 6, 2006 is the first date that is in effect for the training...
The Time is Now! Human factors training for aircraft technicians By Richard Komarniski October 2000 A recent change by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to Annex...
Preventative Measures Safety Programs Are Needed for Maintenance Operations By Michelle Garetson October 1998 There's a poster on the wall in the Aviation Safety program...