Evaluation and Consolidation of the HEART Human Reliability Assessment Principles

  • Julie L. BellEmail author
  • Jeremy C. Williams
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 589)


Since its publication over 30 years ago, the Human Error Assessment and Reduction Technique (HEART) has been used as a risk assessment, accident investigation and design tool. The human factors literature has grown considerably since the method was first published and this has led to some concern about the age and relevance of the data that underpin HRA methods. The objective of the current research was to critically evaluate the data and evidence base underpinning HEART. This was achieved by analyzing research published between 1984 and 2015 to compare with HEART’s existing Generic Task Types (GTTs), Error Producing Conditions (EPCs) and Human Error Probability (HEP) distributions. This scientific/knowledge based contribution provides confidence that the basic structure of the HEART method is well-supported by the literature of the last 30 years and shows that only minor adjustments are required to refine, support and extend its continued successful application.


HEART+ Human error HRA State-of-the-Art 


  1. 1.
    Williams, J.C.: HEART- A proposed method for achieving high reliability in process operation by means of human factors engineering technology. In: Proceedings of a Symposium on the Achievement of Reliability in Operating Plant, Safety and Reliability Society, vol. 16, pp. 5/1–5/15 (1985)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Chadwick, L., Fallon, E.F.: Human reliability assessment of a critical nursing task in a radio-therapy treatment process. Appl. Ergon. 43(1), 89–97 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Gibson, W.H.: Research into the Effects of Human Factors in Axle Inspection – Scoping Study Report. Rail Safety and Standards Board, London (2012)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    IAEA: Input data for quantifying risks associated with the transport of radioactive material. International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA-TECDOC-1346, Vienna (2003)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Nespoli, C., Ditali, S.: Human error probability estimation for process risk assessment with emphasis on control room operations. Chem. Eng. Trans. 19, 219–224 (2010)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Bye, A., Lois, E., Dang, V.N., Parry, G., Forester, J., Massaiu, S., Boring, R., Braarud, P.Ø., Broberg, H., Julius, J., Männistö, I. Nelson, P.: International HRA Empirical Study – Phase 2 Report: Results from Comparing HRA Method Predictions to Simulator Data from SGTR Scenarios, NUREG/IA-0216, vol. 2. US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington D.C. (2011)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Williams, J.C., Bell, J.L.: Consolidation of the generic task type database and concepts used in the Human Error Assessment and Reduction Technique (HEART). Saf. Reliab. 2016a. (in press)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Williams, J.C.: A user manual for the HEART human reliability assessment method. DNV Technica report C2547. Nuclear Electric plc, Gloucester, March 1992. (unpublished)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Leon, M.R., Revelle, W.: Effects of anxiety on analogical reasoning: a test of three theoretical models. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 49(5), 1302 (1985)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Williams, J.C., Bell, J.L.: Consolidation of the error producing conditions used in the Human Error Assessment and Reduction Technique (HEART). Saf. Reliab. 35(3), 26–76 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Shackman, A.J., Sarinopoulos, I., Maxwell, J.S., Lavric, A., Pizzagalli, D.A., Davidson, R.J.: Anxiety selectively disrupts visuospatial working memory. Emotion 6(1), 40–61 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Brosch, T., Pourtois, G., Sander, D., Vuilleumier, P.: Additive effects of emotional, endogenous, and exogenous attention: behavioral and electrophysiological evidence. Neuropsychologia 49(7), 1779–1787 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Mendel, J.: The effect of interface consistency and cognitive load on user performance in an information search task. Clemson University, South Carolina, MS thesis (2009)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Williams, J.C., Bell, J.L., Daniels, C.L.: The quantitative impact of fatigue, distraction and age on human reliability. In: Aven, Vinnem (eds.) Risk, Reliability and Societal Safety – Proceedings of ESREL 2007, pp. 2053–2058 (2007)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Wickens, C.D., Hutchins, S.D., Laux, L., Sebok, A.: The impact of sleep disruption on complex cognitive tasks: a meta-analysis. Hum. Factors 57(6), 930–946 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Council of the European Union: Council Directive of 12 June 1989 on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health of workers at work (89/391/EEC), Brussels (1989)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Mäkinen, T.M., Palinkas, L.A., Reeves, D.L., Pääkkönen, T., Rintamäki, H., Leppäluoto, J., Hassi, J.: Effect of repeated exposures to cold on cognitive performance in humans. Physiol. Behav. 87(1), 166–176 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Rosenbloom, T., Shahar, A., Perlman, A., Estreich, D., Kirzner, E.: Success on a practical driver’s license test with and without the presence of another testee. Accid. Anal. Prev. 39(6), 1296–1301 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Ardila, A., Ostrosky-Solis, F., Rosselli, M., Gómez, C.: Age-related cognitive decline during normal aging: the complex effect of education. Arch. Clin. Neuropsychol. 15(6), 495–513 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Kvavilashvili, L., Kornbrot, D.E., Mash, V., Cockburn, J., Milne, A.: Differential effects of age on prospective and retrospective memory tasks in young, young-old, and old-old adults. Memory 17(2), 180–196 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Salthouse, T.A., Hambrick, D.Z., Lukas, K.E., Dell, T.C.: Determinants of adult age differences on synthetic work performance. J. Exp. Psychol. Appl. 2(4), 305–329 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Whiting, W.L., Smith, A.D.: Differential age-related processing limitations in recall and recognition tasks. Psychol. Aging 12, 216–224 (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Nunes, A., Kramer, A.F.: Experience-based mitigation of age-related performance declines: evidence from air traffic control. J. Exp. Psychol. 15(1), 12–24 (2009)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Mittler, M.M., Carskadon, M.A., Czeisler, C.A., Dement, W.C., Dinges, D.F., Graeber, R.C.: Catastrophes, sleep, and public policy: consensus report. Sleep 11(1), 100–109 (1988)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Folkard, S.: Black times: temporal determinants of transport safety. Accid. Anal. Prev. 29(4), 417–430 (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Health and Safety ExecutiveHarpur Hill, BuxtonUK
  2. 2.Jerry Williams Human Factors Ltd.Hale BarnsUK

Personalised recommendations