Applying human and system reliability analysis to the design and analysis of written procedures in high-risk industries

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10 Scopus citations


The importance and prevalence of written work procedures in industries, especially high-risk industries, has resulted in a renewed interest in the design of these procedures. Most of the concern has focused on the formatting, organization, and readability of the procedures. Although these are important issues, it is also important that advantage be taken of the richness in detail and knowledge contained in many of these procedures. Without an understanding of the relationship between the work context, which is largely reflected in written procedures, and behavioral tendencies, a fundamental problem related to the design of written procedures remains unresolved. Specifically, this problem concerns how written procedures can contribute to human error, procedural violations, and ultimately adverse system outcomes. In this article, a contextual modeling perspective to human and system reliability analysis is presented. The application of this approach directly to the process of designing and analyzing written procedures is discussed. In particular, this article discusses how applying this perspective can benefit designers and writers of procedures by increasing their ability to anticipate how written procedures could contribute to human error and adverse outcomes. Examples illustrating these ideas are presented throughout.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-281
Number of pages17
JournalHuman Factors and Ergonomics In Manufacturing
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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