New Research Leads to More Practical, Effective Ways of Reducing Human Error in the Workplace

Share Article

Approximately 96% of workplace errors are attributed to what we call ‘human error’, but new research findings are leading to more practical and effective ways of identifying the causes of human errors and preventing them. A key finding is that many human errors are actually due to a mismatch between the way that human beings think and work, and the design of the systems they are required to work with.

Have you ever identified a problem's cause as 'human error'? According to error reduction specialist, Filomena Sousa, CEO of Talsico International, you can successfully reduce re-occurrence of human errors if you use a methodology to categorize 'human errors' and a hierarchy of controls that ensures that you apply the most appropriate control for a given type of human error.

“We need to look at human errors scientifically”, explains Ms. Sousa. “We need to analyze and control them as we do other workplace risks. Lumping all human errors into one category prevents us from doing so. We must have a way of categorizing human errors that helps us identify characteristics of the type of error we are dealing with and that guides us to prevention strategies”.

The human error categories below, described further at Talsico's website, provide this framework:

Categories of Human Error:

1.    Learning Gap

2.    Memory Gap

3.    Inconsistency

4.    Application

5.    Omission

6.    Decision

According to Ms. Sousa, categorizing errors is not enough. Organizations need to understand more about the brain and the factors that contribute to each category of human error. This enables them to pinpoint the root cause and to reduce or eliminate future occurrences.

Case Study:

A pharmaceutical manufacturer had a high rate of documentation errors in their Line Clearance process, which is used to ensure there is no cross-contamination. Cross-contamination has major financial and legal implications.

The company had done extensive training and re-training on the clearance procedure. The errors continued. They tried imposing penalties on individuals. This had minimal effect. With an FDA audit imminent, they contacted Talsico.

Talsico analyzed the types of errors made. Most were Omission errors. Talsico's research shows that Omission errors in documentation are principally due to document design. Was it any wonder that re-training and 'punishing' were not working?

Talsico redesigned the documentation based on the way the human brain processes information yielding a 74% error reduction within two weeks.

Workplace Seminars for Error Reduction:

Talsico's seminars help leaders understand the principles behind human errors. Without this understanding organizations can spend enormous amounts of time and money and see little error reduction.

A global manufacturer's vice president told his peers that the reason he had been so forceful in asking them to attend was that “This is the most useful information I've received in 20 years of trying to reduce human errors”.

To learn more about Error Reduction visit Talsico's website or call Susan Lynn, at 732-356-5800.

Talsico has offices in the USA, Australia, Puerto Rico and South Africa.

# # #

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Terry Guire
Email >