Human Factors Course

ATSB Human Factors for Transport Safety Investigators course

Human factors is the multi-disciplinary science that applies knowledge about the capabilities and limitations of human performance to all aspects of the design, manufacture, operation, and maintenance of products and systems.

After any accident or incident, a thorough operational and technical investigation is essential to determine what happened during the occurrence. However, very often, it is only by investigating the possible role of human factors, at both the individual and organisational level, that it can be determined how and why the events occurred. Only then can appropriate safety action be taken.

The ATSB is a leader in the application of human factors to transport safety investigations, and has developed a highly regarded Human Factors for Transport Safety Investigators course. While the course is intended primarily for ATSB personnel, a limited number of places are available to industry participants from the aviation, marine and rail industries.

Course details

Human factors considers the effects of physical, psychological, and environmental factors on human performance in different task environments, including the role of human operators in complex systems.

The ATSB Human Factors course is a five day full-time course that covers the following topics relevant to safety in the aviation, marine, and rail environments;

  • Overview of human factors
  • Human error
  • Human information processing
  • Perception
  • Memory
  • Attention
  • Decision making
  • Situation awareness
  • Communication and crew resource management
  • Human factors in maintenance
  • Fatique
  • Workload
  • Stress
  • Automation
  • Ergonomics
  • Human factors investigation issues
  • Organisational influences
  • Medical and environmental conditions

It is not the object of an ATSB investigation to determine blame or liability, and the ATSB Human Factors course incorporates this important philosophy throughout all aspects of the course.

Potential participants

Priority is given to potential participants who are employed in federal, state, or international government transport safety investigation agencies, airline safety departments, or rail and marine safety organisations. We also encourage those who supervise or manage the safety functions of their respective transport safety organisations to apply.

The ATSB Human Factors course is not designed for those people who have already completed a course in introductory human factors.

Please note that the course assumes that participants have appropriate operational experience in the aviation, marine or rail domains.

Participants from outside Australia are most welcome, particularly from the Asia-Pacific region. However, as the course is intensive and fast-paced, it is essential that those attending the course have a high level of proficiency in English. As a guide, participants must meet ICAO English Language Proficiency Level 4 as a minimum.

Some organisations, such as government transport safety investigation agencies, major airlines and defence, regularly send people to the ATSB Human Factors course. These organisations often have a key contact person, generally in their central safety department, who decides which personnel will attend the course from their organisation.

The ATSB is primarily an operational organisation, and the delivery of human factors training courses is dependent on human factors investigator availability and workload. The ATSB usually runs two courses a year. The high demand for the course often means that the course is booked out well in advance.

The cost of the course is currently $2,000 plus 10% GST.

Course participants need to make their own accommodation and travel arrangements. Reasonably priced accommodation is available at the course venue in Canberra. Should you wish to stay elsewhere, there are a number of nearby hotels, some of which we list in the course information pack.

Further Information

If you would like further information about the ATSB Human Factors course, please contact the Course Aministrator.

Trish Bianchin

with the following information,

  • your current role in the aviation, marine, or rail industry
  • your industry experience
  • your experience in safety-related matters
  • any previous human factors training you have received

Thank you.


To learn more about some basic human factors concepts, visit the US Federal Aviation Administration Human Factors Awareness Course website at:

Last update 01 December 2017