Public Policy

Policy Statements

Human Factors and Ergonomics Society
Policy Statement on
Human Space Flight & Exploration Programs

Mission performance and system safety are highly dependent on human performance, especially when unforeseen events or inevitable system failures are involved. A robust domestic space exploration program is also dependent on the avoidance of catastrophic failures and accidents (e.g., the Challenger and Columbia accidents) given the public, political, and international attention. Therefore, there is a substantial need for all space actors (NASA as well as commercial space entities) to optimize the safety and performance of flight crews, mission controllers, and ground and support personnel throughout the design, engineering, and operation of space systems.

Download a PDF of the entire policy statement here.


The Key to Reducing Medical Error is
Better Attention to Human Factors in Healthcare Systems
April 2022

Recently, a nurse in Nashville was criminally charged and convicted of reckless homicide after a medical error in which the wrong medication was administered leading to the death of the patient. There is a long history of blaming the individual when errors occur.  This however does nothing to fix the systemic problems that underlie medical error which must be addressed in order to improve patient safety. Punishment of a nurse who has good intentions for the care of their patient, but failed to perform due to a myriad of work system deficiencies, is not an avenue to safer medical practices. Between 22,000 and 25,000 cases of medical error result in preventable deaths each year in the US. Tragedies like these can be significantly avoided or reduced by using Human Factors science in the design of healthcare technologies and work systems.

Download a PDF of the entire policy statement here.


Protecting Workers when Working from Home
March 2022

Even as the recent pandemic has subsided, millions of workers continue to work remotely from home, with some estimates indicating that more than 55% of these remote workers will continue telework into the future.1 Overall, about 43% of U.S. workers have the ability to work remotely, with some occupations having above 70%.2 While many occupations (e.g., manufacturing, construction, warehousing) are less likely to work from home, 38% of management, business, and financial operations, and 35% of professional workers work at least partially remotely.1

Download a PDF of the entire policy statement here.


Autonomous and Semi-Autonomous Vehicles (2.0)
February 2022

Automated driving technologies should be designed and tested to address human performance issues before being introduced onto public roads. The expectation that automated driving systems will necessarily enhance safety fails to consider the significant effect these systems have on human performance. Even when designed with the best intentions, automated driving technologies affect human performance in ways that could negate the potential benefits. The human performance issues that automated driving technologies could introduce include loss of driver engagement and low situation awareness, poor understanding of and overreliance on automated systems, and loss of manual skills needed for performance and decision-making. As policymakers seek to create policies and a regulatory framework for the governance of these vehicles, HFES therefore endorses the following policy positions for the development and fielding of semi-automated and automated vehicles (AV) across SAE levels 2-5 (SAE J3016).

Download a PDF of the entire policy statement here.


Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Policy Statement on
Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Design

Transportation is a major source of green-house gas production in the US. A key component of the White House plan to address this includes the promotion and rapid adoption of EV cars and trucks...It is important to maximize the usability of EV charge stations and establish their locations so as to minimize motorist errors, confusion, and frustration... Human Factors research is needed to identify EV charging station and app designs that will promote usability and the transition to EVs.

Download a PDF of the entire policy statement here.


Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Policy Statement on
Reducing the Use of Deadly Force by Law Enforcement

The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES) recognizes that a law enforcement officer’s use of deadly force may be necessary in certain situations, but it is also an unwanted and potentially avoidable outcome in some cases. 2  

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Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Policy Statement on 
Energy and the Environment

The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society recognizes the scientific consensus on the effects of green-house gases and carbon emissions on climate change, and its negative outcomes for human well-being and the natural environment. [1; 2]  In order to address climate change, we support policies that will reduce climate-disrupting emissions and minimize the rise in global temperatures.  These policies will most likely include increasing the use of renewable energy sources and ensuring the safety of nuclear power generation as well as the safety of any continuing carbon-based energy operations in the foreseeable future.  In order to meet human needs for energy production, transmission and distribution, as well as protection of the natural environment, it is critical that both existing and newly developed energy systems be developed to allow for successful human performance in the control of these operations as a critical component of system safety. 

Download a PDF of the entire policy statement here.
 


Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Policy Statement on 
Occupational Ergonomics for Industry 4.0

Human Factors & Ergonomic workplace analysis and design are well proven methods for reducing occupational injuries and illnesses in the workplace, [3,9] and provide substantial benefits for reducing costs and improving operational efficiencies and productivity [8,18,21]. Balancing the cognitive and physical demands of work with the capacity of the worker optimizes productivity, quality of work and worker wellbeing, all of which contribute to healthy organizations and economies. Emerging Industry 4.0 technologies provide a substantial opportunity for improving the quality and effectiveness of ergonomics efforts, creating both improved worker safety and industry cost savings.

Download a PDF of the entire policy statement here.
 


Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Policy Statement
on Artificial Intelligence in Health Care

Artificial intelligence (AI) is being proposed as a tool to aid health care professionals in detecting, diagnosing, treating and monitoring illnesses, as well as for examining large datasets of biological data for medical research at the cellular and genetic level. Further there is a confluence of AI with wearable and sensing technologies that can generate very large datasets from the general population, allowing for new forms of bio-monitoring and direct delivery of AI-generated diagnoses or health alerts to both clinicians and patients.

Download a PDF of the entire policy statement here.
 


Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Policy Statement
on Airline Seating

Outdated FAA data regarding passengers’ size and weight place air passengers at risk with regard to safety, health and comfort. HFES endorses a number of changes to airline seating based on the considerable human factors scientific data relevant to this subject.

Download a PDF of the entire policy statement here.


Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Policy Statement
on Autonomous and Semiautonomous Vehicles

Semiautonomous and highly autonomous vehicles have the potential to enhance the safety and efficiency of the American transportation system. However, automated driving technologies significantly affect human performance, potentially negating those benefits, and should be designed and tested to address human performance issues before being introduced onto public roads. The human performance issues that automated driving technologies could introduce include loss of driver engagement and low situation awareness,[1-3] poor understanding of and overreliance on automated systems,[4-6] and loss of manual skills needed for performance and decision-making.[7, 8]

Download a PDF of the entire policy statement here.
 


Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Policy Statement
on Human Systems Integration

The goal of Human Systems Integration (HSI) is “to optimize total system performance and total ownership costs, while ensuring that the system is designed, operated, and maintained to effectively provide the user with the ability to complete their mission”[1]. HSI is an “umbrella” discipline and management approach that orchestrates the efforts of selected people-related disciplines; seeks to optimize the integration of humans with complex systems; maximizes the performance of system-related humans during system operation, maintenance and support; and, minimizes customer life-cycle costs related to personnel (e.g., acquisition, healthcare, safety, education and training, berthing, compensation, moving, and personnel management). HSI reduces total system costs as well the potential for costly accidents [2, 7].

Download a PDF of the entire policy statement here.
 


Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Position on AV START Act [S.1885] 

The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES) opposes the proposed AV START Act [S.1885] being considered by the US Senate.  Please select the link below to read the Society's concerns about the bill.

Download a PDF of the entire position statement here.