Application of a human error framework to conduct train accident/incident investigations.Accid Anal Prev. 2006 Mar; 38(2):396-406.AA
Accident/incident investigations are an important qualitative approach to understanding and managing transportation safety. To better understand potential safety implications of recently introduced remote control locomotive (RCL) operations in railroad yard switching, researchers investigated six railroad accidents/incidents. To conduct the investigations, researchers first modified the human factors analysis and classification system (HFACS) to optimize its applicability to the railroad industry (HFACS-RR) and then developed accident/incident data collection and analysis tools based on HFACS-RR. A total of 36 probable contributing factors were identified among the six accidents/incidents investigated. Each accident/incident was associated with multiple contributing factors, and, for each accident/incident, active failures and latent conditions were identified. The application of HFACS-RR and a theoretically driven approach to investigating accidents/incidents involving human error ensured that all levels of the system were considered during data collection and analysis phases of the investigation and that investigations were systematic and thorough. Future work is underway to develop a handheld software tool that incorporates these data collection and analysis tools.