Research facilitation and management for Newfoundland and Labrador's offshore industry

Human Factor Design Issues Relating to Individual Behaviour in Emergency Situations

Lead PI: Dr. Paul Amyotte
Subject Category: Health, Safety and the Environment

Start Date:
End Date: Nov 2009
Institution / Organization: Dalhousie University

Human beings make errors. When these errors are made in one of the world’s harshest work environments, the consequences can be devastating. But human error can be prevented by accounting for its likelihood of occurrence. And if, in spite of our best attempts, a human error still occurs – the severity of the resulting consequences can be reduced. The risk of human error can thus be significantly lowered, but only by acting on the belief that human errors are rooted in human factors.

Essentially, this means that we must design our workplaces and their attendant procedures with the actions of human beings foremost in our minds. This requirement is arguably at its most critical level during emergency situations when the potential for human error and the severity of the possible consequences are at their greatest.

Dr. Paul Amyotte of Dalhousie University and Drs. Khan, MacKinnon, and Veitch of Memorial University are collaborating on this research initiative. The scope of the research is emergency scenarios which necessitate taking action to ensure successful personnel muster, escape, evacuation, survival and rescue in response to various initiating events. The focal point of the research is the quantitative determination of the probability and consequences of human error during these emergency actions.

The end-result of the research will be an engineering tool designed to employ these human error data in making objective decisions concerning facility design improvements from a human factor perspective.



  • Final Report [PDF]
  • Final Report - Appendix 8 [PDF]

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