Human Factors Integration – Discovering Its Importance & Ways to Implement It

crm, purpose of crm, aviation, crew management

Human Factors Integration is a process followed by various industries, including oil and gas, aviation, maritime, and others. Although each industry has a unique domain, the fundamental approach is similar.

In this article, we will discuss human factors integration, explain why it is essential, and how to effectively implement it into operations.

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What is human factors integration?

Human Factors Integration (HFI) is all about how people interact with technology, the environment, and the tasks they perform in a system. It’s a key approach to smoothly integrating people with complex technology setups.

Simply put, HFI ensures that when people and technology come together, they work efficiently and safely. The UK Ministry of Defence initially developed it to focus on six crucial areas to improve how humans fit into a system:

  1. Staffing: How many people do we need to run, maintain, and train others on the system?
  2. Personnel: What kind of mental and physical skills are necessary for people to work effectively with the system?
  3. Training: What type of training and education is needed for staff to acquire the essential skills and knowledge?
  4. Human Factors Engineering: How do we design systems that match human characteristics and maximize performance?
  5. Health Hazard Assessment: Are there any health risks associated with using the system?
  6. System Safety: How can we identify and manage safety risks caused by human error?

HFI is crucial in ensuring that as technology evolves, the way people work with it does too, keeping everything running smoothly and safely.

Why is human factors integration important?

why HFI is important

To ensure systems are safe and effective, designers need to create them with the users in mind. The UK Health and Safety Executive recognizes human factors (HF) as critical in developing and running these systems. Ignoring HF until problems arise doesn’t work—it needs to be part of the process from the start.

Humans are prone to making errors; this is a well-known fact. In high-stakes fields like maritime, aviation, and oil & gas, these errors can lead to severe accidents. In fact, human errors are behind up to 80% of all incidents in these industries.

That’s why it’s vital to integrate human factors into the safety protocols of these critical industries. By doing so, we can significantly enhance operational safety and prevent many accidents.

The HFI plan

Implementing Human Factors Integration means bringing together a diverse team—engineers, designers, psychologists, and the people who will use the systems. This team works from the ground up to consider human needs right from the start and throughout the system’s life. Clear roles, proper resources, and tools to assess how people interact with the system are essential.

The HFI plan lays out how every activity connects with different aspects of human factors, aiming to:

  • Define the human role in the system to boost performance, ensuring it aligns well with the main system and any extra equipment.
  • Pinpoint what training the system operators need.
  • Conduct tests and evaluations to ensure the system is safe and effective for its intended use.
  • Make sure the design meets the required performance standards, and adjust the design or training if it doesn’t.

Human factors training for improved operational safety

Human factors are crucial for safety, particularly in aviation, contributing to over two-thirds of accidents. These aren’t caused by illness or negligence but by lapses in performance due to oversight in human skills and environmental stresses by system designers.

Human Factors Integration enhances system interactions by considering human factors throughout the development process. The impact of integrating human factors in aviation is significant. Since introducing crew resource management training in 1979, which improves crew and technology interactions, aviation fatalities dropped from 2,379 in 1972 to 72 in 2023 despite more active flights.

At NaviMinds, we offer comprehensive crew resource management courses and human factors training for all safety-critical industries. Our goal is to extend the proven safety benefits of aviation to other sectors by integrating these essential elements into team and system designs.

Contact us at to learn more.

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Anne Knudsen

Anne Knudsen

Anne's career began in the late 80s as a cabin crew, and she was quickly drawn to the world of flying. After a few years, she became a pilot and flight instructor in several larger airlines. Presently, Anne holds the role of CEO at NaviMinds.

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