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Human Factors and Ergonomics Complete Self-Assessment Guide



This guide provides a comprehensive overview of implementing human factors in healthcare to enhance patient safety. It underscores the importance of understanding human factors principles and integrating them into healthcare practices to improve outcomes and minimize errors.


The guide acknowledges the contributions of the Clinical Human Factors Group (CHFG) and other healthcare professionals who have played pivotal roles in emphasizing patient safety through human factors.

Key Components


The background section sets the stage by discussing the critical role human factors play in healthcare. It emphasizes that human factors, or ergonomics, is the scientific discipline concerned with understanding interactions among humans and other elements of a system.

The Benefits of Applying Human Factors

Applying human factors in healthcare has numerous benefits, including reducing errors, improving patient care, and fostering a safer, more efficient healthcare environment. The guide highlights how understanding human behaviors, capabilities, limitations, and interactions can significantly impact patient safety and care quality.

How Errors and Incidents Occur

This section delves into the nature of errors and incidents in healthcare settings. It argues for a systematic approach to error prevention that includes understanding the human factors contributing to mistakes.

Organizational Management and Human Factors

Developing a Positive Safety Culture

The guide stresses the importance of creating a positive safety culture within healthcare organizations. It breaks down this goal into several key aspects:

  • Open Culture: Encouraging open communication about errors and near-misses to learn and improve.
  • Just Culture: Balancing accountability with a non-punitive approach to reporting errors.
  • Reporting Culture: Creating an environment where staff feel comfortable reporting safety concerns.
  • Learning Culture: Emphasizing learning from incidents to prevent future errors.
  • Informed Culture: Keeping everyone informed about safety issues and improvements.

Embedding Human Factors Training

Training in human factors is essential for healthcare professionals. The guide advocates for incorporating this training into healthcare education and ongoing professional development to embed a deep understanding of human factors in all healthcare practices.

Making Your Care and Work Safer

This section offers practical advice on applying human factors principles to make healthcare settings safer. It covers:

  • Cognition and Mental Workload: Understanding how cognitive processes affect performance.
  • Distractions: Minimizing distractions to improve focus and safety.
  • Physical Environment: Designing spaces that support safety and efficiency.
  • Physical Demands: Acknowledging and adjusting for the physical demands on healthcare workers.
  • Device/Product Design: Ensuring that tools and devices are designed with user safety and usability in mind.
  • Teamwork: Promoting effective teamwork through communication and collaboration.
  • Process Design: Designing processes that support safety and minimize the risk of errors.


The "How to Guide to Human Factors Volume 1" is an essential resource for healthcare professionals seeking to integrate human factors into their practice. It combines theoretical insights with practical strategies, aiming to cultivate a culture of safety and efficiency in healthcare settings. By embracing the principles outlined in this guide, healthcare organizations can significantly enhance patient safety and care quality.