Human Factors in Health and Safety


There is an increasing emphasis on the importance of managing human factors – how the people, the job and the organisation interact as a whole – to achieve improved safety and business performance in the chemical process industries. Major accidents, including those at Texas City, Buncefield and Longford, have highlighted the importance of addressing this aspect of performance. Yet many of the safety and operational professionals charged with managing human factors have no formal qualifications or training in the human and behavioural sciences.

Human Factors in Health and Safety addresses this gap by providing training designed to increase understanding of the key human factors issues relevant to the process industries. Jointly developed in 2009 by IChemE and the Keil Centre, a recognised centre of excellence in human factors, it focuses on how to manage human factors effectively in order to drive safety standards and overall business performance. Training is delivered face-to-face or online.

Modular training

Human Factors in Health and Safety consists of four modules:

  • Managing Human Factors
  • Managing Human Failure
  • Strengthening Organisational Performance
  • Human Factors in Design

The modules are independent of each other and can be completed in any order. You can sign up for all four to get a comprehensive overview of human factors, or attend single modules to develop understanding in a particular area. 

Learning outcomes

Human Factors in Health and Safety will help you to:

  • understand what human factors is and how it affects human performance, health and safety
  • understand how human factors needs to be managed within an organisation, including the scope and involvement of different parties
  • develop knowledge about specific topic areas related to major accidents and how to reduce the related risks
  • understand and gain practical use of common tools and techniques used within human factors
  • understand how to apply certain human factors tools
  • act as the COMAH operator's intelligent customer for human factors* (UK participants).

Who will benefit

Those looking for a comprehensive overview of human factors, access to practical research-based tools and approaches, and discussion in small groups with acknowledged industry experts. This may include:

  • HSE managers and advisors
  • operations managers
  • safety engineers
  • chemical/process engineers
  • in-house human factors advisors.

Specific engineering disciplines (eg control and instrumentation, piping, electrical, mechanical) will benefit from Module 4 – Human Factors in Design.

What's covered?

  • Human factors in risk management
  • Managing safety critical communications
  • Managing safety culture and behaviours
  • Managing organisational change
  • Reducing human error
  • Managing non-compliance
  • Human factors in incident investigation
  • Managing performance under pressure
  • Managing fatigue
  • Staffing and workload
  • Training and competence
  • Effective supervision and safety leadership
  • Integrating human factors in design
  • Developing effective procedures
  • Human machine interface
  • Plant and control room design

Topics are organised to cover the UK Health and Safety Executive's top human factors issues in major hazard sites, but these topics are just as applicable and relevant to non-UK regulatory frameworks.

Follow the module links below to see what is covered in each module.

Module dates – online

Teaching will be delivered via four live sessions with the trainers, pre-course reading and pre-recorded video content for independent study.

Module dates – face-to-face

All modules will be held in Edinburgh, UK. Teaching will be delivered over two full days, supported by some pre-course reading. 

The trainers

Training is delivered by recognised human factors professionals with significant process industry experience. They will provide practical advice, tools and approaches to help you implement human factors solutions at your organisation. 

Previous delegates say

"Human Factors in Health and Safety took my understanding of human factors to a new level. It is geared towards providing practical support to delivering a human factors improvement agenda and has given me the confidence to lead the human factors agenda at a top tier site/operation. I would highly recommend this course."
Ian Taylor, Process Safety Assurance Engineer, SABIC Petrochemicals, UK

"Human Factors in Health and Safety is ideal for anyone who wishes to become an intelligent customer in the subject...For anyone with responsibilities for major hazard sites, the course provides an excellent learning opportunity and is an important addition to the health and safety toolbox."
Ron Ramshaw, Head of HSSE, Interconnector, UK

"This course has opened my eyes to the untapped potential to be more proactive, incorporating human factors not just in our production facilities but at every level and every part of our global organisation."
Thomas Willer, Occupational Safety and Health Manager, Evonik Corporation, USA

How to book

Follow the module links above where you will find a registration link. 

View our brochure

Download our Human Factors in Health and Safety brochure>>

Train your team

Human Factors in Health and Safety can be delivered to corporate teams, either on-site or online. Content can be tailored to your specific requirements, and this could be a cost-effective option if you have several people requiring the training. To find out more and request a quotation, visit our in-company training page.

Contact us

If you have any questions, contact us at or on +44 (0)1788 534496.


CIEHF recognised course

In partnership with

In partnership with The Keil Centre

* The COMAH delivery guide has a specific clause relating to technical competence in human factors, suggesting that COMAH operators should demonstrate proportionate access to HF expertise.

This can be supplied as external competent support (such as from a Chartered Human Factors Specialist accredited by the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors). However, it is emphasised that the COMAH operator must maintain an effective intelligent customer capability and secure local ownership of key HF standards and their implementation, developing and maintaining a suitable level of in-house HF expertise.

Human Factors in Health and Safety aims to develop a broad understanding of human factors in support of the in-house human factors advisor who acts as the COMAH operator’s intelligent customer.