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Daytona Beach


Human Factors and Behavioral Neurobiology

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The Human Factors Analysis and Classification System (HFACS) is a general human error framework originally developed and tested within the U.S. military as a tool for investigating and analyzing the human causes of aviation accidents. Based upon Reason’s (1990) model of latent and active failures, HFACS addresses human error at all levels of the system, including the condition of aircrew and organizational factors. The purpose of the present study was to assess the utility of the HFACS framework as an error analysis and classification tool outside the military. Specifically, HFACS was applied to commercial aviation accident records maintained by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Using accidents that occurred between January 1990 and December 1996, it was demonstrated that HFACS reliably accommodated all human causal factors associated with the commercial accidents examined. In addition, the classification of data using HFACS highlighted several critical safety issues in need of intervention research. These results demonstrate that the HFACS framework can be a viable tool for use within the civil aviation arena.


Washington, DC

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Dr. Shappell was not affiliated with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University at the time this report was published.