Human Factors for Transport Safety Investigators course

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau offers an introductory course in Human Factors for Transport Safety Investigators.

This one-week course provides a general overview of human factors in safety-critical systems and provides participants with opportunities to improve their awareness of how human factors issues can be considered during a transport safety investigation. The course was originally designed to meet the training needs of ATSB aviation safety investigators, however, a limited number of places are now being made available to industry participants from the aviation, marine and rail industries.

The ATSB Human Factors course provides a general overview of human factors in safety-critical systems, including the aviation, marine, and rail industries.

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 topics relevant to safety in the aviation, marine, and rail environments, such as:

  • Overview of human factors
  • Human error
  • Human information processing
  • Perception
  • Memory
  • Attention
  • Fatigue
  • Workload
  • Stress
  • Decision making
  • Situation awareness
  • Communication
  • Team resource management
  • Human factors in maintenance
  • Alarms and responses
  • Human factors of survivability
  • Automation
  • Ergonomics
  • Investigating human factors
  • Safety culture
  • Risk and resilience
  • 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.

The cost of the course is $2,500.

The course fee includes a comprehensive course manual with extensive notes, refreshments, lunches, and the course dinner on the Wednesday night.

All participants will receive an ATSB endorsed certificate on completion of the course.

Course participants

The ATSB is a multi-modal agency and the human factors course uses examples from the aviation, marine, and rail industries, as well as other areas. This is in keeping with the principle that the basic human factors concepts outlined in the course are equally applicable to many different domains.

Most ATSB Human Factors courses include participants from the aviation, marine, and rail industries. However, the mix of participants on any particular course will vary.

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

The ATSB Human Factors course is not designed for those who have already completed significant human factors training.

Course participants are required to complete pre-course reading and an assignment before the course commences. This will ensure that all participants come to the course with a similar understanding of some basic human factors concepts.

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 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.

Demand for the ATSB Human Factors course is high and the course is often booked out well in advance.

Further information

The course is held at an external training venue in Canberra. Course participants need to make their own accommodation and travel arrangements. Accommodation is available at, and near, the course venue. Participants are advised to make arrangements early as accommodation in Canberra can be limited at certain times of the year.

If you would like further information about the ATSB Human Factors course, please contact the Course Administrator, 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.
Related: Human factors
Last update 07 February 2019