Rethinking Human Reliability Analysis Methodologies

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Manchester Business School


Society, organisations and individuals face many risks, both one-off risks leading to catastophic failure of a system, e.g. a house fire or an aircraft accident, and repetitive risks, e.g. car or central heating breakdowns. In many cases human factors play a large role in determining the likelihood of failure and thus have to be taken account of in any risk or reliability analysis and in planning risk management and maintenance procedures. Human reliability analysis (HRA) offers the methodologies for such quantitative analysis of human error. HRA methodologies were by and large laid down in the late 1970's and, while developments have taken place, they have not matched our increased understanding of the processes that lead to human error. In particular, HRA techiques tend to focus on humans as individuals and not as part of teams and organisations. Many studies have shown qualitatively that group and organisational contexts have a major effect on human reliability. There is thus a need to draw on such understandings in developing HRA methodologies.This project will survey and catalogue a wide range of literatures, case studies and other material to form a basis of material on which to build the next generation of HRA methodologies. It will suggest promising lines of theoretical development and forms of mathematical model which may support future HRA.


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