Watch me

17. May 2016 09:32

A nice introduction to decisions, heuristics and bias, in less than 5 minutes

It’s even animated. What’s not to like? OK I know that for most of us, this is simple stuff, but how often do we struggle to get some of these concepts over to colleagues, friends or family?

TED-ED The psychology behind irrational decisions - Sara Garofalo

I’m a fan of TED and TED-ED generally and use a lot of the material at work. Most of my lectures and courses have a ‘further reading’ section and TED features often. If you haven’t done so already, I suggest you check out both the TED and TED-ED sites.

Of the recent TED lectures here’s one that’s well worth a watch.

Uri Hasson: This is your brain on communication

If you’re interested in (mis-)communication, language and the successful transmission of mental models (think shift handover or permit to work for example), this is a fascinating and accessible view into how neurobiology is generating new insights. There’s a lot to think about after watching a lecture like that!


Upcoming training events

4. May 2016 13:00

As part of our Operational Human Factors programme we offer a number of lunchtime forums and training courses. Each course will give delegates a greater understanding of the issues relating to Human Factors through presentations, real life case studies and group exercises.

Our upcoming events are as follows:

Human Factors in the Workplace 28th - 30th June - Marriott Hotel, York

Human Factors in the Workplace 1st - 3rd November - ABB Consulting, Teesside


Hot off the Press - 58

4. May 2016 11:06

Last night the UK Radio 4 network aired a very interesting programme entitled The Blame Game.

It’s presented by Eliza Manningham-Buller - Director General of MI5 from 2002 to 2007, who was in that post during the terrorist attacks on London. She examines the process of ascribing blame following a major incident in the public domain, such as a terrorist attack or failure of social or health care systems. The role of the press and of politicians in the process of blaming individuals comes under some scrutiny.

I found it fascinating to listen to the perspective of a non-safety professional in coming to the conclusion that many aspects of blame and blame-culture are harmful to learning and improvement, something that we have learnt a long time ago in many industries.

I’m not sure how long it will be available on-line or whether you can listen if the BBC thinks you’re located outside the UK, but if you can I think it’s worth 40 minutes of your time.

 blame culture 
1 comment


18. March 2016 10:31

Thanks for the responses to the blog on intelligent safety helmets and wearable computing.

As we only had three responses I decided to give out three prizes rather than exclude just one.

A ten pound Amazon voucher to each of Paddy, Matthew and Colm (who wins his for the Aliens reference).


Hot off the Press - 57

29. February 2016 16:31

I know that ‘man bites dog’ makes a good story....

...but so must ‘Humans replace robots’.

Those of you who’ve been on the training course will know that I contrast the flexibility and adaptability of humans with the precision and repeatability of robots and automation. It always prompts an interesting discussion.

Well, Mercedes have had the same debate and they have come to a surprising conclusion.

Mercedes deautomates production lines

Interesting stuff.

I should be careful with what I say as ABB (who pay my salary) are the world’s biggest manufacturer of industrial robots. To make it up to my employer, here’s an awesome video of the YuMi robot designed to work in close collaboration with humans.

You and Me

It really is something special.

 robots society 
1 comment
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    Human Factors in the Process Industries Blog

    Tony Atkinson leads the ABB Consulting Operational Human Factors team. He has spent over 30 years in the process industries, working in control rooms around the world, in the fields of ergonomics, control and alarm systems, control room design and operational and cultural issues such as communications, competency and fatigue.

    He has been blogging on diverse topics that interest him in the widest sense of 'human factors', all of which share the same common element, the 'Mk.1 Human Being' and their unique limitations, abilities and behaviours. In his blog he discusses everyday as well as technical and organisational issues that affect safety and performance of these process operators and technicians and how this impacts control rooms and the wider plant. However learning comes from many places and you can expect entries from aviation, automotive, marine, healthcare, military and many other fields.

    Outside of work, Tony indulges in travel, food, wine and flying kites to keep him moderately sane.

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