Picture source: http://www.archdaily.com
BY KEVIN MCMANUS
INDUSTRIAL ENGINEER – VOLUME 47 NUMBER 2
We need workplace designs that adapt to whatever workforce mix is available. Most people take human factors for granted, we don’t realize how often we reach for something without looking.
When Kevin McManus was studying to be an industrial engineer, he steered away from “human factors” course. Had he known how big it would play in helping improve performance, he would have taken the class.
Failing to appreciate human factors leads to numerous trial and error. Engineered fixes are the best way to prevent human error, but we need to know what types of fixes affect human behavior and performance if we want to achieve step changes in improvement.
Process and design standardization used to provide us with solutions to human factors-based errors, but our workforces were more homogenous. As the workforces get more diverse, we need workplace designs that adapt to any workforce mix is available. The main key is by learning more about human factors, about how designs and layouts affect human performance.
We often focus on the user instead of the designer of the system when an error is occurred. We should not wait for natural processes to teach us about the importance of human factors engineering.
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