U.S. Department of Transportation


Date of this Version



Proceedings of the 2nd International Workshop On Human Factors In Offshore Operations '02. Huston, Texas, April 8-10, 2002.


Human factors engineering (HFE) is the scientific and engineering discipline concerned with improving human performance and reducing human error in complex systems. HFE represents a merging of behavioral science and systems engineering and is directed at integrating people into the workplace. The discipline had its start in the aviation and aerospace industries.

The objective of HFE is to minimize the potential for human error and accidents by ensuring that the human can perform assigned activities as efficiently and effectively as possible. At a very basic level, a definition of human error can be “any deviation from expected human performance” (Senders and Moray 1991).“ Other definitions exist that have a qualifier of human error include, such as “failure to respond to a situation within time constraints, responding with insufficient precision of control, or deciding upon inappropriate courses of action.” Example of human error is:

· Starting the wrong pump

· Skipping a step in a procedure

· Entering the wrong set point