Routes to failure: analysis of 41 civil aviation accidents from the Republic of China using the human factors analysis and classification system.Accid Anal Prev. 2008 Mar; 40(2):426-34.AA
The human factors analysis and classification system (HFACS) is based upon Reason's organizational model of human error. HFACS was developed as an analytical framework for the investigation of the role of human error in aviation accidents, however, there is little empirical work formally describing the relationship between the components in the model. This research analyses 41 civil aviation accidents occurring to aircraft registered in the Republic of China (ROC) between 1999 and 2006 using the HFACS framework. The results show statistically significant relationships between errors at the operational level and organizational inadequacies at both the immediately adjacent level (preconditions for unsafe acts) and higher levels in the organization (unsafe supervision and organizational influences). The pattern of the 'routes to failure' observed in the data from this analysis of civil aircraft accidents show great similarities to that observed in the analysis of military accidents. This research lends further support to Reason's model that suggests that active failures are promoted by latent conditions in the organization. Statistical relationships linking fallible decisions in upper management levels were found to directly affect supervisory practices, thereby creating the psychological preconditions for unsafe acts and hence indirectly impairing the performance of pilots, ultimately leading to accidents.