Building on Basic Human Factors Training
Lack of preparedness is a serious concern for aviation safety.
Uninformed actions can quickly result in devastating safety and financial consequences.
Considering human action accounts for approximately 90% of incidents, preparedness in aviation safety is a matter of preparing humans how to identify and understand their own actions.
Advanced topics for Human Factors aviation safety management systems (SMS) training should build on hazard identification and behavior-understanding by introducing topics that address underlying reasons and motivations for behavioral responses.
The necessity here is that training material is personal, and relatable. Such an approach gives trainees a personal stake and interest in the training material. Advanced Human Factors training topics should be a part of recurrent SMS training.
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Advanced Topics for Aviation SMS Human Factors Training
Basic aviation SMS Human Factors training focuses on teaching the basics of what Human Factors are, the consequences (both positive and negative) of their presence in aviation SMS, and common ways safety programs address human factors.
I think we could agree that basic Human Factors training is essential, both for aviation safety officers to have insight into identifying behavior in their SMS implementation activities, and for front-line employees to be aware of their own actions and more observant of others.
However, more advanced topics can give far more insight into when and why Human Factors arise in aviation safety programs. Advanced topics for Human Factors Aviation SMS training that are both insightful, quantifiable, and interesting focus on neurological and physiological factors behind the Dirty Dozen.
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This allows safety managers to identify underlying causes for behavior in specific situations, and employees to understand motivations behind their feelings and behavior. Such topics might be:
- How Brain Responds to Threat;
- Arousal and Attention;
- Decision Making;
- Situational Awareness; and
- Stress Performance.
Human Factors Aviation SMS Training Example Lessons
More advanced Human Factors Training for aviation SMS would include:
- The effects of stress on the function of memory, safety performance and process of decision making;
- Predicting when complacency is most common and what to do to prevent it;
- Describing what inattention blindness is and when it usually occurs;
- The common and uncommon causes of fatigue and the identification of the physical and mental symptoms and their effect on decision making; and
- How threat is processed by the nervous system, and how the nervous system compensates to deal with the threat.
Such lessons provide ripe opportunities to display impressive data with strong real life applications.
Relevant SMS Roles for Training
Human Factors training in aviation SMS are important for all members of an SMS. This is because safety is the responsibility of everyone. A critical mistake can have far reaching repercussions in the safety management system. Some positions that training is very useful for are:
- Instructor pilots;
- Pilots and crew;
- Ground handling and maintenance;
- Aircraft accident investigators;
- Flight simulator instructors; and
- Aviation safety managers.
Related Aviation Safety Training Articles
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- Why Employees Can’t Stand Aviation SMS Training
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Final Thought: Presentation Tips for Aviation SMS Training
Presentation will make or break aviation SMS. Great safety training material with a banal presentation will simply bore and tune out employees – unfortunately training too often trends this way. Uninteresting safety training cannot adequately prepare employees for safety:
- Mindset; and
Most employees forget 90% of training material after one week. With advanced training materials, keeping employees engaged is matter of focusing the training around:
- Case studies;
- Practical exercise;
- Condensed and interactive material;
- Data; and
- Real world/story based scenarios.
Assess Your Safety Culture
Published June 2016. Last updated January 2020.