Adonis Diaries

What’s that concept of Human Factors in design?

Posted on: October 6, 2008

Article #16

“Are there any major cross over between HF and safety engineering?” 

(April 10, 2005)

In most States there are building or civil construction codes for safety standards.

Usually, safety consultant firms are hired to catalogue and study the safety requirements for fire hazards and major risks peculiar in industries that have the potential to cause harm to the workers or occupants.

In many instances, safety engineers are hired to manage the requirements and control their application. Federal and State occupational safety and health inspectors can use self-inspection checklist for general safety standards and for specific standards tailor made to industries like chemical plants or construction industry. For example there are safety checklists for abrasive machinery, confined space entry, compressed gas cylinders, electrical equipment, emergency action plan and emergency response, fire protection, hazardous waste operation, hoists and cranes, lockout/tag out, mandated posters, personal protection from noise and workplace violence to name a few. 

There is an international standard organization that many States adopt its quality control accreditation standards for exporting products to foreign countries.  These standards are mainly for industrial quality processes and procedures that are hoped would improve quality of products and help manufacturers to abide by the specifications of the intended countries.

By and by, these quality processes have included safety procedures designed in and managed by manufacturers.

Many of these accrediting firms hire consultants fitting the job description and qualifications of Human Factors professionals. 

There is a lucrative niche for expert Human Factors in forensic engineering.

After building enough credibility in the field through years of teaching and field experience many of our professionals have managed to build contacts with the appropriate lawyers. Forensic engineers not only need excellent credentials and skills in investigating the errors that led to accidents and injuries but also they need to master the legal terminology and processes.  A set of ethical standards guide forensic engineers to find the right trade off between truth and not antagonizing their clients, mainly the lawyers who hired them in the first place.  In many instances government agencies might hire expert forensic witnesses in major catastrophic accidents.

In most litigation, the report of the forensic engineer can settle out of court legal proceeding between plaintiffs and defendants on the strength of facts and analysis of the engineer’s report.

Generally, in 10% of the cases the forensic engineer has to submit and suffer the cross examination of the defendant lawyer or vice versa whose job is to discredit his credentials first and then to find untenable facts or proofs in the analysis in order to kill the testimony of the expert.

Thus, in addition to mastering the investigative techniques done in timely matter and the technologies that could be acceptable in court a forensic engineer has to have the verbal skills and the proven logic to answer the offending skilled lawyer.

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adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

October 2008
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