Chapter 1

What is human factors?

J. Edmonds

Abstract

The human aspects of a work system differ quite considerably from the engineering elements. Humans can be quite variable in terms of their capabilities and limitations, and it is not always easy to predict or preempt how humans may behave. The human element, nevertheless, is an essential, beneficial, and integral aspect of the work system. Human factors is primarily concerned with optimizing system, and health and safety performance. It is based on scientific knowledge about humans, which is then applied, using robust tools and techniques. It is concerned with the development of all aspects of the system that influence human performance, including the work tasks, tools and equipment, workspace, ...

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