Human Factors and Railways – Workshop Report

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First published on Linkedin.

We just hosted a successful workshop on “Human Factors Network at SBB – How to establish and increase the human factors maturity in railway companies” at the 7th Human Factors Rail Conference online.

Workshop Miro

We started by sharing our own learnings while establishing an internal interdisciplinary human factors network consisting of representatives from the specialist areas of safety, health protection & prevention and user experience. The goal of the network is not only to consider human and organizational factors in individual projects, but to use human factors approaches throughout the entire development and implementation process of new solutions. Over the course of three years our human factors network has become well established within the company. However, we are convinced that for a sustainable implementation of HF, we need to increase the HF maturity within the organization.

We shared the status of our maturity model for human factors and discussed with the participants how they would assess their own company on three selected topics.

  • First we discussed the topic of management support for Human Factors (HF) topics. While some participants note some promotion of human factors by their management, it’s rare that a general commitment to human factors of the management turns into concrete management actions in most of the participants companies. A shared good practice to raise management awareness is to work with data and show the business impact of HF measures like e.g. on incidents and illness rates. In addition, HF use cases from the starting point to the end can give the management a good insight about HF.
  • Second we discussed the topic about collaboration between the different actors to identify the impacts of development projects on Human Factors. A shared good practice is to identify human factors / ergonomic issues and monitor them during the whole product cycle. Also many human factors specialists work closely with other disciplines, research and consultancies.
  • Finally we discussed the state of the methods for human factors in railway companies. The participants differed in terms of the extent to which they use methods for explaining, analysing and predicting HF. In the discussion we identified that we could learn a lot from HF methods used in aviation. We came to the conclusion that a best practice is to develop and share HF toolkits and review the effectiveness of our methods systematically.

What are your experiences? Are you interested to learn more about the points described above? Get in touch with us.

The workshop was co-hosted with Anna Windischer. Thanks to Luzia Widrig, Christina Brändli, Christina Kuhn, Leo Sommer for support.

Author: boos