Ergonomics and Human Factors in the transport sector is concerned
with ensuring that all aspects of transport design meets the needs of
people engaging with those designs, safely and efficiently. The
consideration of human factors extends beyond vehicle design (trains,
planes, automobiles, boats, motorcycles, bicycles, etc.) to include the
design of the surrounding infrastructure (e.g. roads and railways) and
traffic management and control systems.
Within the transport sector, a well-considered balance needs to be
struck between expediting flow and ensuring safety. The pressure to
minimise journey time and resource usage can at times be at odds with
the requirement to maximise the safety of all. For public transport, in
particular, inclusive design and the needs of those with reduced
mobility are of key importance. Public transport is often a gateway to
Watch the video of CIEHF Fellow Dr Ann Mills talking about her work at the Rail Safety & Standards Board.
Human factors has an important part to play in investigations when
things to wrong too. Watch the video, created by Thomas Jun of
Loughborough University, of a South Korean ferry accident for an
Dr Claire Dickinson, CIEHF President (2017-8) & Central Specialist
Inspectors’ Team Manager & ORR Occupational Health Programme
Manager, Office of Rail and Road
If there was just one thing you could bring to the profession as President of the CIEHF, what would it be?
Support & encouragement for practitioners and members. We need to work together and play to everyone’s strengths.
What would you say is the biggest challenge faced in your sector?
Rail Sector: Increasing the network performance and capacity, i.e.
more/bigger trains/stations to cope with increasing numbers or: Securing
agreement on changes to working practices. Though on a personal basis,
my current biggest working challenge concerns getting good ergonomics
and human factors requirements into the railway regulations and
How would you describe ergonomics/human factors to someone outside of the industry in few words?
It’s about people in systems.
What’s your biggest hope for the profession?
We see growth of CIEHF membership numbers and more jobs for chartered ergonomists.
What would be your top piece of advice for graduates keen to enter the profession?
Get a breadth of experience – move roles every 3 years and get a breadth
of experience in tools and approaches and different industrial sectors.
Don’t specialise too soon.
Name the person who has most inspired you to follow your career.
Dr Duncan Troup, my PhD Supervisor and Dr Debbie Lucas, my former colleague and friend.
Who would be your top 3 dinner party guests (dead or alive)?
Sir Robert Winston, Sandy Toksvig, David Attenborough. (Or Robert,
Charlotte and Peter Dickinson – I love our family dinners, they are all
Name something that can’t be taught and can only be learned with age?
Treasure and protect your professional and social networks – if you look after people, they’ll look out for you.
If you could choose one superpower, what would it be?
Insight / forward thinking