Paying attention to human factors

Human errors made by operators and maintenance workers at nuclear power plants have steadily decreased as a result of improvements in human-machine interface and the work environment. However, this tendency has recently leveled off. We can say therefore that measures for human error reduction are more necessary now than ever before.
There is also a rapid increase in the number of scandals related to ethics in organizations. This has led to strong expectations of new methods to study corporate ethics, compliance, etc. Studies conducted by this research center on safety climate have revealed that individual action is greatly influenced by such organizational factors as the “Organization’s Attitude towards Safety” and the “Attitude of One’s Immediate Superior.” A close examination and analysis of the organizational factors at the roots of accidents and disasters is being conducted.
Nuclear power equipment has aged while operation continues using newly-constructed maintenance programs within the mechanisms of new inspection systems.
The environment surrounding nuclear power plants is continually changing in this way, and to-date, problems have been normally dealt with ad hoc. This can be considered as a positive aspect of human involvement. However, on the other hand, human error can also lead to an imbalance between people and their environment which can develop into major accidents. This constitutes the negative side of things.
In this Center, we are involved in a wide range of studies to increase human advantages and decrease the disadvantages as much as possible.
The Great East Japan Earthquake and the gigantic tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, 2011, coupled with the nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, had a huge impact on both inside and outside Japan, creating the need for a new perspective from which human factors can be studied in the future. As a result of a review of past research, the Center has come to challenge the research sophistication of the prevailing advanced analysis and evaluation methods. We are also involved in research in the field of risk management by simulating emergency situations. One example of the risk management studies concerns organizational good practices in case of emergency.

  • Research at the Human Laboratory includes studies testing the effectiveness of method which consists in speaking loudly while pointing at an object, and studies on how to mitigate the effect of distracting noise (Shown: Studies on calling loudly while pointing at an object).

Key Achievements – Books & Brochures

Group

  • Research Center for Human Factors
    Applied Behavioral Research Group

    Basic research applying psychological findings etc. for reducing human error in nuclear power plants
  • Research Center for Human Factors
    Safety Climate Investigation Group

    Investigation and research on sophistication and standardization of organizational safety climate in nuclear power plants
  • Research Center for Human Factors
    Human Factor Analysis Group

    Investigation and research from the viewpoint of human factors concerning prevention of recurrence of trouble at nuclear power plants and prevention of nuclear accidents