Human and organisational factors

What are human and organisational factors?

Human and organisational factors is the term given to all elements within a workplace that have an influence on the people who work there. For example, workers and their equipment, work procedures or their environment.

In order to consider all the factors that are relevant to any given task, it can be helpful to consider these three interrelated areas.

  • Job – what people are being asked to do (the task and its characteristics).
  • Individual – who is doing the task (the person and their competence).
  • Organisation – where the person is working (the organisation and its attributes)

Examples of human and organisational factors

  • Over-reliance on procedures to manage risk and lack of user-friendly procedures.
  • Competence, through a combination of skills, experience and knowledge.
  • Staffing and workload – having the right numbers of the right people in the right place at the right time.
  • Management of organisational change and organisational structural design.
  • Communication of safety critical information, both verbally and written.
  • Design of control rooms, plant and equipment.
  • Fatigue from excessive work times or poorly designed shift-patterns.
  • Adequate resources for maintenance, inspection and testing.