Human Factors is something very near and dear to me as I have witnessed both the benefits of employing a robust human factors program into the maintenance (MX) arena, and the consequences of ignoring the effects of Human Factors. It’s my opinion we are only granted two options with respect to Human Factors: (1) We can employ the principles of Human Factors into our work environment and enjoy the benefits of reduced errors, accidents and incidents to humans and equipment, or (2) We can elect to disregard the unstoppable power of Human Factors and endure the consequences of errors, accidents and incidents to humans and equipment. It’s really that simple.
From an unrealistic managerial perspective one can demand a zero tolerance policy with respect to errors; however, this is nothing more than ignorance and naïve speaking out loudly. I say this because the simple fact is humans are going to make mistakes. Ask the individual that dictated the zero tolerance policy if he or she has ever misplaced their keys, or forgot to pick something up at the store they intended to buy, slipped, fell, spilled a glass of milk or whatever. Did Mr. or Mrs. Perfect intentionally plan on making the mistakes mentioned, no they did not, but they are human, and we are all going to make mistakes.
If we achieve a level of professional maturity whereby we can accept the fact humans are going to make mistakes it truly becomes more prevalent why we need to employ a robust Human Factors program into our MX organization.
Unfortunately, our industry is experiencing global attention as we and the families of the 150 deceased in the Germanwings A320 endure the consequences of Human Factors.
If we attempt to evaluate our knowledge of Human Factors on a scale of 1-10 where might you fall? On the same scale what is your aggression or tenacity towards employing the principles of Human Factors? Again using the same scale how often are Human Factors a consideration in your decision making process?
Are we potentially working with individuals just like Andreas Lubitz, yet look the other way because our empathy or leniency is more powerful than our commitment to the Safety of Flight?
Consider for a moment young Andreas Lubitz shared enough information with 1 co-worker (You) 2 days prior to the flight that took 150 souls, that he had a serious problem. What would you do with that information?