Nuclear Sector

Exploring all aspects of this safety-critical industry

Nuclear human factors

Nuclear facilities are complex sociotechnical systems within which people perform essential roles in maintaining safety and reliability. In safety-critical sectors such as this, human factors has a vital part to play in optimising human performance by applying knowledge about human characteristics, capabilities and limitations as well as the job, organisational and cultural aspects.

Human factors considers the role of the human within the system and the contribution they make to safety. It looks at physical aspects such as control room design including seating, displays and controls, alarms and warnings, lighting and noise. It explores equipment design, lifting operations, access and egress, maintenance and repair, and site layout. It also looks at procedures, shifts, teamwork, supervision, planning and communication.

A major part of safe working is learning from adverse events. Understanding what went wrong and what led to an incident is a key part of human factors. It enables lessons to be learnt and systems to be improved by discovering and understanding root causes.

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