Human Factors Research Center

2-11-1 Iwadokita, Komae-shi, Tokyo 201-8511 Japan
TEL : +81-3-3480-2111

Triggered by the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl nuclear accidents in 1979 and 1986, the Human Factors Research Center (HFC) was established in 1987 to promote researches for improving safety and reliability at nuclear power plants by reducing human errors. Research activities in human factors aim for improving safety level at work by considering the human-machine interface, environment, and adaptation to society. HFC conducts a wide range of research activities not only in the nuclear industry but also in various other industries in order to enhance the so-called "Human Factors Culture - forming a safety climate by placing importance on human".

Development of measures for formulating and enhancing safety skill at electric power facilities

As part of development of measures for improving safety performance and safety skill of workers, in the three years of the 2015-2017 fiscal year, following studies will be conducted.

(1) Development of measures for enhancing risk coping behaviors

To improve the safety of electric power facilities, it is necessary not only to aware potential risks in workplaces but also to cope with the risks appropriately. Although workers are aware of a risk, it's often the case that they do not cope with it appropriately because of the risk estimation error, overconfidence, external conditions, and so on. Then, the purpose of this study is to organize the disincentives for risk coping strategy described above according to information processing, and to develop measures for enhancing appropriate risk coping behaviors. Also, an evaluation method will be proposed for measuring effects of the above measures.

(2) Development of measures for extracting and transferring safety know-how of veteran workers

For the purpose of human error prevention which leads to the safety improvement of electric power facilities, it is important to transfer veteran workers' safety know-how by rule making, educations and training, and so on. However, since veteran workers don't put safety know-how into words in many cases, it is necessary to develop the measures for extracting safety know-how from veteran workers. In addition, there is no established standard for determining the appropriate method for transferring extracted safety know-how. Then, the purpose of this study is to develop measures for extracting safety know-how of veteran workers and determining whether the extracted safety know-how should be made into rules. Also, an effective learning method will be devised for the extracted safety know-how which should be transferred by education and training.

An assessment and training method of team resource management skills in power plant emergencies

Nuclear power plant emergencies, especially when, for example, a situation is unclear and necessary equipment is not available, require not only technical skills such as operation of emergency equipment (e.g., mobile high-voltage power source vehicle and high pressure spray vehicle) but also, more than usual, non-technical skills such as communication and leadership in order to understand a situation and make decisions for problem-solving.

The past research on teamwork revealed that non-technical skills required in emergencies consist of two cognitive skills (situation awareness and decision making), three social skills (communication, team-working, and leadership), and two workload management skills (managing stress and coping with fatigue). In the present study, non-technical skills required in an emergency headquarters in a nuclear power plant are collectively named team resource management (TRM) skills in emergencies.

We reviewed training for enhancing TRM skills conducted in other domains, including a training exercise (e.g., simulation training), teamwork improvement training (e.g., team training), and risk sensitivity training, and estimated correspondence relationships between training and non-technical skills in the previous research.

The present study aims to develop a training guide for enhancing TRM skills in emergencies consisting of an assessment method of the seven non-technical skills and a training menu that provides appropriate training according to TRM skill levels.

(1) An assessment method of TRM skills in emergencies (2015 - 2016)

(2) A training method of TRM skills in emergencies (2015 - 2016)

(3) A training guide for enhancing TRM skills in emergencies (2017)

Proposal on what commitment of executives and autonomous learning should be to become high reliability organizations

(1) Proposal on what commitment of electric power companies' executives should be to become high reliability organizations

After the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident, the level of demand from society for the safety of nuclear power plants is rapidly increasing. Electric power companies are required to be high reliability organizations. Commitment to safety of executives plays an important role to realize high reliability organizations. In this study, we organize the human factors issues related to commitment of executives to safety in the cases whose background include involvement of executives. We research the organizations which are considered to be excellent in the commitment to safety of executives, and clarify the features of those organizations. Based on the research on those organizations, we propose ideal ways of commitment of electric power companies' executives.

(2) Clarification of requirements for autonomous learning with drawing a lesson from cases of accidents

In recent industries, workers have less chance to encounter accidents. That leads decreasing of opportunities to learn an adequate emergency response and a valuable lesson to prevent accidents. Under this circumstance, it is necessary to utilize cases of accidents even which learners did not encounter and to learn a lot of lessons actively. In this study, we will clarify a mechanism of learning a lesson effectively from cased of accidents and suggest requirements to support such kind of learning based on the mechanism.

Copyright (C) Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry