Human Reliability Analysis using a Human Factors Hazard Model




human reliability analysis, human error probability, hazard analysis techniques, fault tree analysis, event tree analysis, system safety, human factors engineering, risk analysis, reliability engineering


Human Reliability Analysis (HRA) has found application within a diverse set of engineering domains, but the methods used to apply HRA are often complicated, time-consuming, costly to apply, specific to particular (i.e., nuclear) applications, and are not suitable for direct comparison amongst themselves.

This paper proposes a Human Factors Hazard Model (HFHM), which builds an HRA method from the tools of Fault Tree Analysis (FTA), Event Tree Analysis (ETA), and a novel model of considering serial Human Error Probability (HEP) more relevant to psychomotor-intensive industrial and commercial applications such as manufacturing, teleoperation, and vehicle operation. The HEP approach uses Performance Shaping Factors (PSFs) relevant to human behavior, as well as specific characteristics unique to a system architecture and its corresponding operational behavior. The HFHM tool is intended to establish a common analysis approach, to simplify and automate the modeling of the likelihood of a mishap due to a human-system interaction during a hazard event.

The HFHM is executed commercial software tools (MS Excel and SysML) such that trade and sensitivity studies can be conducted and iterated automatically. The results generated by the HFHM can be used to guide risk assessment, safety requirements generation and management, design options, and safety controls within the system design architecting process. Verification and evaluation of the HFHM through simulation and subject matter expert evaluation illustrate the value of the HFHM as a tool for HRA and system safety analysis in a set of key industrial applications.

Author Biographies

Dustin S. Birch, Weber State University


Dr. Birch is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. He holds a Ph.D. in Systems Engineering from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. He is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Utah. His research interests include aerospace system design, reliability engineering, system safety analysis, and human factors in engineering.

Erika E. Miller, Colorado State University


Dr. Miller is an Assistant Professor of Systems Engineering at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. Her research interests include transportation systems, human factors, human-machine interactions, and safety analysis.

Thomas H. Bradley, Colorado State University


Dr. Bradley is the Department Head and Woodward Professor of Systems Engineering at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. His research interests include automotive and aerospace system design, energy system management, model-based systems engineering, and lifecycle assessment.


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Article cover




How to Cite

Birch, D., Miller, E., & Bradley, T. (2023). Human Reliability Analysis using a Human Factors Hazard Model. Journal of System Safety, 58(2), 7–29.