Concurrent support for accident investigation involving human error

Woodcock, K., 2012. Concurrent support for accident investigation involving human error. Proceedings of the XXIV Annual International Society for Occupational Ergonomics and Safety, Fort Lauderdale FL. pp. 97-104.

Accident investigations are often concluded when traced back to human error. Failure to acquire sufficient information about the type of error and its antecedents can lead to ineffective or inadequate prevention. This paper describes the development, general structure and function, and content of a concurrent support tool for investigators without extensive human-factors background. The support tool (1) assists to promote the acquisition of sufficient data to classify an error, and (2) serves as a critiquing support, encouraging the investigator to continue seeking information beyond the point where an unaided investigation may stop, by providing customized suggestions for follow-up queries based on human-factors principles. Investigators may stop at will, or may accept the suggestions. The support tool frees up memory workload by collecting and classifying error data and providing short-term storage of leads to be followed. The collected accident data may be organized with the accident model of choice. 

Author: Kathryn Woodcock

Dr. Kathryn Woodcock is Professor at Toronto Metropolitan University, teaching, researching, and consulting in the area of human factors engineering / ergonomics particularly applied to amusement rides and attractions (, and to broader occupational and public safety issues of performance, error, investigation and inspection, and to disability and accessibility.