Human Factors and Emerging Risks Symposium 2021

Our world is changing, and as a result, society faces several emergent personal, organisational, societal and global risks which threaten our health and wellbeing. Human Factors has a critical role to play in understanding and managing these risks. Our 2021 Human Factors symposium entitled ‘Human Factors and Emerging Risks’ includes a series of presentations from leading researchers and practitioners covering their work applying state-of-the-art Human Factors theory and methods in response to these emerging risks. Topics covered include the management of global risks (e.g. COVID-19) and natural hazards, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, control room design, accident reporting and analysis, and the development and validation of risk management methods. 


Leading at the front: Applying Human Factors and Ergonomics in practice in international education during COVID-19. Dr Clare Dallat. COVID-19 has disrupted every single aspect of life as we know it. The education sector was faced with the need to completely transform how it operates overnight. This presentation will use a case study international school in South Korea to examine how Human Factors and Ergonomics (HFE) approaches played a pivotal function in supporting the initial response and ongoing management to the significant threats posed by COVID-19.

A strong signal or lots of noise? A review of evidence to determine whether our risk management methods work in practice. Dr Adam Hulme. Despite its recognised importance, the reliability and validity of human factors and safety science methods is rarely examined. This presentation will report on two recent world-first studies that tested the reliability and validity of risk assessment (STAMP-STPA, EAST-BL, Net-HARMS) and accident analysis (AcciMap, STAMP-CAST, AcciNet) methods.

Beyond human-vehicle interaction: Identifying the system-wide risks to the safe introduction of advanced automated vehicles. Associate Professor Gemma Read. We often think of risks associated with vehicle automation in terms of sharp end failures such as software bugs, hardware breakdowns or human back-up drivers ‘failing to maintain situation awareness’. This presentation will demonstrate the benefits of understanding the wider risks across the road transport system, including in design, testing and maintenance, in addition to operation, especially given the difficulties predicting the specific technologies and use cases likely to emerge.

The Quest for the Ring: redesigning the layout for all control rooms of the future. Prof Neville A Stanton Layout of control rooms in submarines has largely remained unchanged, despite advancements in technology.  This presentation reports on a series of studies that show the benefits of the control room ring.  It will be argued that this configuration will benefit to all control rooms, as it encourages communication between operators.

UPLOADS: A unified industry approach to incident reporting and learning for risk management. Lauren Coventon. UPLOADS is an online incident reporting and learning system used within the Led Outdoor Activity Industry.  In this presentation we will demonstrate how UPLOADS is used by industry stakeholders to collect and analyse data about incidents and near misses to identify trends and develop risk management strategies. 

Frequent and fatal: Managing the risk of natural hazards in our urban environments. Dr Nicholas Stevens. Our cities and towns face a range of increasingly frequent and severe natural disasters as the climate changes. Floods, fires, droughts, storms, cyclones and heatwaves are but a few of these natural hazards. Our urban environments and infrastructures are not designed to withstand the anticipated impacts. HFE and systems thinking offers new insights for managing the risk, and for the planning and design of more resilient urban systems.  

Controlling the uncontrollable: Managing the risks associated with artificial general intelligence. Dr Scott McLean. Artificial General intelligence (AGI) offers enormous benefits for humanity, yet it also poses great risk. Human Factors and Ergonomics (HFE) has a crucial role to play in the conception, design, and operation to ensure safe and efficient AGI systems. This presentation will discuss critical gaps in the knowledge base around the risks associated with AGI and how systems HFE methods can be used to enhance risk management in future technologies.

Endgame: Human Factors and the management of existential threats. Professor Paul Salmon
Globally there are a set of wicked problems that represent significant and even existential threats to humanity. Human Factors and Ergonomics (HFE) has a critical role to play in responding to these threats; however, however, there is little evidence that the science of HFE is being considered in current response efforts. This presentation will discuss two recent case studies involving the application of systems HFE methods for global risk management purposes.