Identifying Emerging Human Factors Risks in North American Airline Operations

TitleIdentifying Emerging Human Factors Risks in North American Airline Operations
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsHiston, J. M., and J. Yan
Conference NameInternational Symposium on Aviation Psychology
Conference LocationDayton, OH

It is widely believed that human factors risks contribute to more than half of the aviation accidents (Shappell & Wiegmann, 2004), and the major risks are changing over time due to the rapidly evolving operational environment. It is necessary to identifying and understanding major human factors risks that airline operations are currently facing and might be facing in the future. Ten semi-structured interviews were conducted with safety experts from North American airlines and industry associations. This study is able to provide insight into airlines’ perceptions of the current top human factor risks, upcoming changes in the operational environment that might bring new risks, and challenges the current human factor risk identification practices are facing. The results show that violations as well as preconditions of unsafe acts, including fatigue, pressure and communication are the most prominent human factors risks in current commercial airline operations. Coming changes in the operational environment, especially changes in the organizational level and technology side are considered to have the biggest potential to introduce new risks. By providing insight into the current and emerging aviation human factors risks, this study will support safety departments developing corresponding risk mitigation methods to prevent future accidents and incidents. 

Refereed DesignationRefereed
Related files: