HUMAN FACTORS AND ERGONOMICS SOCIETY CODE OF ETHICS
Adopted October 14, 1989; Amended 2005
The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society is dedicated to the betterment of
humankind through the scientific inquiry into and application of those
principles that relate to the interface of humans with their natural,
residential, recreational, and vocational environments and the procedures,
practices, and design considerations that increase a human's performance and
safety at those interfaces. To promote and sustain the highest levels of
professional and scientific performance by its members, the Human Factors and
Ergonomics Society has adopted this Code of Ethics. No special oath to these
Articles is necessary; its provisions are incumbent on all classes of
membership of the Society.
No such code can be expected to completely anticipate all of the various and
complex arrangements that professionals create, nor can it fully explore the
many ramifications of these arrangements. The following Articles, then, are a
guide and serve to set the tenor of professional behavior. The details must be
left to the conscience and goodwill of the elected and appointed officers of
the Society who must administer adherence to this code.
Article I - Professional Qualifications
Human factors scientists and engineers have the responsibility of factually
representing their professional qualifications as well as those of the
institution they represent.
Members limit their practice to those areas of human factors wherein they
maintain a competence by virtue of training and/or experience and not extend
their endeavors beyond their realm of competence. They enter into additional
areas of human factors practice and teaching only after sufficient professional
preparation or with proper professional oversight.
Where a brief or summary statement of qualifications would be deceptive or
misleading, members present their educational background in the detail and with
the additional explanation necessary for an accurate interpretation of their
area of study and the level of attainment achieved. Members do likewise with
their representations of their work experience so that there is little chance
for a misunderstanding of the extensiveness or intensiveness of their work
Members represent their employers' capabilities and interests accurately so as
not to mislead their clients or potential clients or damage the business
interests or reputation of their employers.
Members, when representing their professional affiliations, factually represent
their current or past affiliations with any institution or organization as well
as factually represent the aims and purposes of those institutions or
Members do not use their affiliation with the Human Factors and Ergonomics
Society or its Chapters for purposes not consonant with the stated purposes of
the Society, nor do they announce their affiliation with the Human Factors and
Ergonomics Society in such a way as to falsely imply sponsorship or approval by
Article II - General Conduct
Human factors scientists and engineers have the responsibility of comporting
themselves in a manner consistent with that generally expected of the
In the conduct of their professional activities, members do everything
necessary to reflect personal integrity as well as to convey the integrity of
Members avoid sensationalism, exaggeration, and superficiality that constitutes
deception, and must similarly avoid any misrepresentation in all public
statements, presentations, and submissions to mass media.
Members avoid all situations that contain elements of conflict of interest or
must provide full disclosure of those conflicts to all potentially affected
Members do not use a position as a teacher, a granting or contracting official,
an employer or employee, or any other position of influence to coerce or harass
Members do not use race, handicap, sex, sexual preference, age, religion, or
national origin as a consideration in hiring, promotion, or training or in any
research or application where such consideration is irrelevant to the
situational demands for performance.
Members factually represent all aspects of an employment offer, fully
disclosing the terms and conditions of work, the length of employment, research
projects and facilities available, work assignments, and opportunities for
Where responsible for design, members include considerations for the safety of
person and property, and, through the appropriate source, notify those
concerned when a hazardous condition exists.
Members clearly present the adverse safety and health consequences to be
expected from deviations proposed if their technical judgment is overruled by
technical or administrative authority.
Article III - Publications
Human factors scientists and engineers generally have the obligation to report
their work to the general scientific community and to give credit to those who
have contributed on a professional level to that publication.
Members give credit, proportional to their contribution, to all those
responsible for the formulation, experimental design, analysis, or other
treatment of the material if their contribution was on a professional level.
Such credit should be extended by a listing of all contributors' names in the
publication. That listing can be in the form of joint authorship with the name
of the most substantial contributor listed as senior author, or by a footnote
or introductory statement when the contribution is minor. This Principle deals
with credit for professional contributions only and in no way affects copyright
Members ensure that their work is reported factually, bearing professional
responsibility for all elements of their reportage, including the accuracy of
analysis, quotation from other works, and conclusions drawn. Members maintain
the highest standards of scientific experimentation and analysis.
Members maintain a position of objectivity when editing publications and
reviewing papers that reflect views other than their own, as well as papers
that present data in conflict with those they themselves may have previously
published. Members do not represent the work (words, graphics, and ideas) of another person, in whole or in part, as their own - a practice commonly referred to as plagiarism. Exact wording from another is properly indicated by the use of quotation marks, and conceptual or paraphrased material from another is acknowledged through source citation. (Adapted from Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 5th Edition [p. 349], by American Psychological Association, 2001, Washington, DC: Publisher. Copyright ©2001 by the American Psychological Association. Adapted with permission.)
Article IV - Subject Precautions
Human factors scientists and engineers have the responsibility of treating both
human and animal subjects humanely and in accordance with federal, state, and
local laws or regulations, as well as the generally accepted procedures within
the scientific community.
Members determine, through consultation with colleagues or institutional review
committees, that the exposure of human or animal research subjects to hazards,
stress, divulgence of history or preferences, or tedium is commensurate with
the significance of the problem being researched.
Members determine the degree of hazard present in the exposure of human or
animal research subjects, avoiding any exposures to human subjects that may
result in death, dismemberment, permanent dysfunction or extreme pain, and
utilize the lowest levels of exposure to both human and animal subjects
consistent with the phenomenon under consideration.
Members ensure the ethical treatment of human and animal research subjects by
collaborators, assistants, students, and employees.
Members establish an informed consent with human research subjects when
required by institutional, state, or federal codes or regulations, making
explicit in plain language the terms of participation, particularly with
respect to any elements of risk or stress involved, and adhere to those terms
throughout the experiment. One of these terms must be that the subject has the
right to terminate participation at any time without prejudice.
Members do not coerce potential human research subjects to participate as
subjects, nor do they use undue monetary rewards to induce subjects to take
risks they would not otherwise take.
Members preserve the confidentiality of any information obtained from human
research subjects that, if divulged, may have harmful effects on those
Article V - Forensic Practice
Human factors scientists and practitioners do not allow the adversarial system
of jurisprudence to affect the quality or integrity of their practice.
Members provide testimony objectively and without bias; their testimony is
based on credible data and/or scientific principles; they are prepared to
identify the merits and limitations of the data and principles as well as their
own capability to interpret those data and apply those principles.
Members avoid impugning the integrity of other expert witnesses without a
factual, reasonable, and substantive basis.
Members do not accept fees on a basis contingent on the outcome of the matter.
Members accept that the client is the attorney who engaged them and not the
client of that attorney who is party to the suit.
Except where required by the Federal Rules of Evidence, members avoid
discussing the suit with others in a manner that would disclose the caption of
the suit or parties involved, absent the permission of the engaging attorney,
until the suit is absolved.
Members participating in a suit do not make public statements likely to
influence or prejudice the judicial proceedings during their pendency.
Following suit resolution, members do not reveal information detrimental to the
litigants' or client's interests, except where they believe silence would
breach the greater duty of protecting public health and safety.