Safety Audits and Programs | PROSAFE Solutions | Atlanta Consultants

Human Performance (HP)


Understanding human performance is critical for effective safety management and incident analysis. Human error is often identified as the cause of many accidents. However, it is the beginning point rather than the end point in truly understanding both accident causation and safety performance.


Organizations with sophisticated safety programs are still getting people hurt. Results have flat lined. This is mostly due to not understanding and managing human factors.


What is Human Performance?

HP is not a program. It is the application of the science of human failure to error and incident reduction. It is a refreshing and timely new approach that is producing impressive results that old view traditional approaches failed to achieve.

HP is the next generation in safety. Many forward-thinking organizations are moving this direction because HP is reality-based. It is based on how employees actually perform work versus how management imagines they do. As a result, employee engagement increases to levels not previously thought possible by creating a proactive and positive safety culture.


The concepts of human performance are not just about safety. Errors occur in production, quality, customer service and many other areas and affect profitability every year. It is about operational excellence and can and should be used to improve all areas of performance.


The Critical Principles of Human Performance are:

  1. People are fallible
  2. Error-likely situations are predictable
  3. Organizations and people drift
  4. Individual behaviors are influenced by culture and leadership
  5. Events can be avoided by learning
  6. People achieve high levels of performance based on encouragement and reinforcement


Safety has been held hostage to the “old view” that people make mistakes because of stupidity, carelessness, complacency or incompetence. As a result, incidents are not truly understood and resources become misdirected while failing to actually fix the problem. This causes organizations to experience the same errors, violations and incidents over and over again.


The “new view” is that human error can be a symptom of trouble deeper inside a system or due to simple mental lapses that are an inevitable part of being human. To explain failure, do not try to find where people went wrong. Instead, find out how people’s decisions and actions made sense to them at the time, given the circumstances that surrounded them.


The “old view” resulted in a crime and punishment model where the organization makes rules, enforces the rules and then punishes workers for violating the rules. Employers saw employees as being broken and tried to fix them through situational awareness training or instructing them to be more careful or pay more attention. These approaches are unsucsessful because of the way the human brain processes information.


The “new view” assumes that people are doing reasonable things given their point of view, focus of their attention, knowledge of the situation and objectives of the organization in which they work. This view realizes that incidents and near misses are opportunities for learning and making substantial organizational process improvements. To a large degree, HP is about becoming a learning organization focused on continuous improvement. It is not possible for an organization to punish or incentivize its way to safety excellence. We can only truly prevent incidents by learning.


What are the benefits?

  • Employee buy-in and engagement
  • Improved morale
  • Increased productivity
  • Increased profits from the reduction of errors and losses
  • Better understanding of operations
  • Better understanding of factors that influence employee decisions and behaviors
  • More effective incident/event analysis than provided by traditional investigative approaches


Our services:

PROSAFE Solutions provides expert training, consultation and coaching to assure successful implementation and sustainability of Human Performance as a way of operating. We provide guidance based on a proven framework that allows organizations to minimize or avoid pitfalls that could derail the process. Services include:

  • HP introduction sessions (2-3hrs)
  • 3-day courses for managers, safety personnel and implementation teams
  • 2-day courses for supervisors
  • 1-day courses for employees
  • Train-the-trainer courses
  • Event Learning Team (ELT) training
  • Event Learning Team coaching
  • On-going consultation

PROSAFE offers regular Human Performance courses through GA Tech. Registration is available here:

Courses may also be conducted at your location.

Contact us today to learn more about this exciting area of performance improvement.


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