The Benefits of Human Factors Training

The Benefits of Human Factors Training By Jason Martin – Executive Jet Management September 2001 Editor’s note: The following is how one company was able to improve practices within its organization through a formal human factors...

No two days are alike
Human factors training reminds students that everyone brings different experiences and personalities to the job. Similarly, no two days for a mechanic are alike, an attractive feature of working in the aircraft maintenance industry.
"Whether you’re old or new in the aviation field," says Bergman, "human factors training acts as an adhesive in bonding people’s working relationships with each other."
Students quickly identify the areas in which they can improve and the skills that can be enhanced for the benefit of the team. While recurring workshops reinforce the knowledge from the previous sessions, the information is never the same from year to year. Specific incidents at EJM are examined through the human elements, how problems were solved and what strategies might be used in similar situations.

Developing relationships
A human factors program can establish a valuable relationship with management and maintenance departments, locating areas in need of improvement and gaining the confidence of all participants.
Kevin Lindsey is fleet maintenance coordinator and weekend supervisor at EJM and organizes the company’s human factors training schedule. He has seen how mechanics react to the program and how their job performance changes after they attend the workshops.
"People don’t realize all the issues that can interfere with their work," says Lindsey, "but, as soon as they get back to their job after the training, they understand how the human factors affect their judgement and ability to work with others. They can then apply the skills taught in the class to prevent problems."

Negative norms
The workshops have also helped EJM tackle the issue of negative norms. With a maintenance team as large as EJM’s, learning how to target bad habits in individuals before they spread throughout the team is essential for safe operations.
"We’ve learned how to dissect an incident, and we know what questions to ask when issues do arise," says Lindsey. "And, when you get down to it, human factors training is every bit as important as maintenance training, because it teaches you about yourself."

Seeing the benefits
EJM managers see the benefits of the human factors workshops through more efficient maintenance operations. As the company continues to expand with its move into a new facility this year, employees are prepared to face any environmental or procedural changes. Analyzing the benefits of the training, EJM reports an improvement in morale, teamwork and safer operations, and not just on a short-term basis; the workshops enable students to find a personal angle to the lessons, which promotes a heightened, ongoing awareness.
"Human factors training teaches you that it is not bad to go back to the books any time you need to," says Bergman, "and to not be afraid to stop when something doesn’t look or feel right."
No matter how sharp the axe is, it can always be sharper. This is what human factors training has taught EJM and many other aviation companies.

The Source

Executive Jet Aircraft Management
4556 Airport Road
Cincinnati, OH 45226
(800) 451-2822
(513) 979-6600

Grey Owl Aviation Consultants
Box 233
Onanole, Manitoba ROJ 1NO Canada
(204) 848-7353

FAA Human Factors Division, AAR-100
800 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20591
(202) 267-7219

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