HFESNZ Conference 2019

The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society hosted their annual symposium and conference this year over 3 days in Auckland. The conference included presentations from a range of experts in the human factors field, with Maggie’s presentation helping to kick-off the third day.

Maggie’s presentation on using work domain analysis in safety case development was awarded best abstract, for a study that represented “the application of a robust Human Factors method in a cutting edge area of research”.

Maggie’s Presentation

Maggie is an experienced Human Factors specialist and Behavioural Scientist with a PhD in Human Factors psychology from Monash University, Melbourne. She is passionate about learning from systems failures and near misses to enhance public safety and system resilience.

Maggie’s presentation reflected on work Navigatus has undertaken for MBIE to produce a Foundation Safety Case for the integration of unmanned aircraft into the New Zealand Airspace. A Foundation Safety Case sets out the processes that must be delivered and the criteria that must be met by a unmanned aircraft operator to ensure the risk associated with airspace integration meets an acceptable level of safety. In an emerging area where technology is advancing rapidly, it is important to define these functions without prescribing the specific technologies that an operator requires to perform them, leaving room for innovation and continuous improvement.

Work Domain Analysis was used to inform the structure of the Foundation Safety Case. Work Domain Analysis is a structured, formative approach to analysing, modelling, designing and evaluating complex socio-technical systems. It considers flexibility and adaptive capacity by describing system constraints and ways in which a system can operate within those constraints without explicitly identifying specific sequences of actions. The development of the Work Domain Analysis was an iterative process, developed through a series of workshops, meetings and online interactions with key stakeholders and refined by mapping against the International Civil Aviation Organization safety regulations. A total of 18 functions were identified. These were linked to 26 processes. The most highly linked function was “Execute responsibilities of pilot in command”.

The safety case framework was structured around these functions and their associated processes. The failure of each process was considered the top event in a bowtie analysis, prompting the identification of event and consequence mitigations. The likelihood of events and the effectiveness of mitigations were then calculated and combined to give an overall risk level for the Operator.