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Myth of the Month: Human Error

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  • Dr. Bill Corcoran
    Typical of the Human Error Myths is the following from Shappell and Wiegman at http://www.coloradofirecamp.com/swiss-cheese/hfacs.htm Human error has been
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 1, 2008
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      Typical of the Human Error Myths is the following from Shappell and Wiegman at
      Human error has been implicated in 70 to 80% of all civil and military aviation accidents.

      1. Human Error is never a root cause because it is always the result of deeper underlying factors that are important.
      2. Corrective actions for Human error are pruning the poison ivy, in that they make the symptom go away temporarily while leaving the underlying factors in place.
      3. One hundred percent (100%) of adverse consequences would not occur or would be less serious were it not for dysfunctional human behavior.
      4. Dysfunctional human behavior can affect the nature, the magnitude, the location, and/or the timing of adverse consequences.
      5. Dysfunctional human behavior can be involved in set-up factors, triggering factors, exacerbating factors, and/or mitigating factors.
      6. If a causal factor analysis report does not reflect the above it can be "blown out of the water" by a reviewer/ inspector who understands the above.

      OBTW: There is much food for thought at the link given above, i.e.,
      Take care,
      Bill Corcoran
      W. R. Corcoran, Ph.D., P.E.
      NSRC Corporation
      21 Broadleaf Circle
      Windsor, CT 06095-1634
      Voice and voice mail: 860-285-8779
      Fax and voice mail to e-mail: 206-888-6772
      Mission: Saving lives, pain, assets, and careers through thoughtful inquiry.
      To register for a full day root cause analysis workshop for high hazard industry professionals at Amelia Island, FL on Thursday, August 7, 2008, go to
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