Accessibility statement

Back to list of courses

Back to System Safety Engineering


Human Factors for Safety Critical Systems (HUFS)

Course details

Book course online button


This course introduces you to concepts and techniques that can be used to support the design and evaluation of complex interactive systems, with a particular emphasis on safety critical systems. These techniques include work analysis (including task analysis and scenario analysis), human error assessment, design and evaluation of interactive systems and human reliability assessment.

By the end of this course you will have an understanding of:

  • usability its relation to error;
  • user requirements elicitation and analysis;
  • work representation – hierarchical task analysis;
  • principles of design and prototyping;
  • evaluation of interactive systems;
  • errors and principles relating to human reliability;
  • human reliability analysis;
  • human error analysis.

Who is the course for?

This course is suitable for:

  • practitioners across all domains including aerospace, military, railway, automotive, civil nuclear, civil maritime, medical devices, healthcare, and so on;
  • developers of equipment safety cases during design for software, hardware, procedures, systems and/or platforms;
  • developers of safety cases for operational safety and disposal;
  • reviewers of safety cases within an organisation or as an independent activity;
  • developers and reviewers of changes to existing safety-critical / safety-related equipment and operations;
  • project managers where development of a safety case is a significant element of projects they manage;
  • regulators of safety critical domains.


A basic understanding of system safety terminology and lifecycle via prior learning or industrial experience. It is useful for you to have taken our Foundations of System Safety Engineering course, but if you have not, please email us with your details so we can assess your suitability for taking this course.

How is the course taught?

The course takes place over one week at the University of York. This week consists of a mixture of lectures and practicals, but we expect you to put in around 30 hours of private study.

Over the week, there will be a series of lectures and a number of case studies. The case studies give you the chance to work through an example to reinforce your learning from the lectures. This is also a chance to gain other insights from the experience and knowledge of other delegates. You will also be able to call on the experience and knowledge of our specialised teaching staff during these sessions.  

The module ends with an assessed exercise, which you have the option of completing. It takes approximately 35 hours in addition to the scheduled teaching time and can be completed on or off site. All assessed exercises are open (so you won't take an exam in supervised conditions), and comprise a report, case study, or documented piece of software.

If you choose to take and pass your assessment, your results can count towards the completion of the MSc in Safety Critical Systems Engineering. Our MSc in Safety Critical Systems Engineering is an accredited course, recognised by both the BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT and the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) for the purposes of partial fulfilment of the educational requirement for CEng registration

Logo from BCS (Chartered Institute of IT) showing our accredited status




IET Accredited programmes logo  Find out more about what this professional accreditation means.

Recommended reading

Hollnagel, E Human reliability analysis: context and control Academic Press 1993
Hollnagel, E Cognitive Reliability and Error Analysis Method Elsevier Science Ltd 1998
Kirwan B. and Ainsworth L.K. A guide to task analysis Taylor and Francis 1992
Kirwan B A guide to practical human reliability assessment Taylor and Francis 1992
Norman D The design of everyday things Basic Books 1988
Perrow C Normal accidents: living with high risk technologies Basic Books 1994
Preece, J., Rogers, Y. and Sharp, H Interaction design: beyond human-computer interaction John Wiley and Sons 2002
Reason J.T. Human Error Cambridge University Press 1990
Vicente, K.J. Cognitive Work Analysis Lawrence Erlbaum Associates 1999
Villemeur A. Reliability, availability, maintainability and safety assessment vol. 2 Wiley 1992
Baddeley, A.D Your memory: a user's guide Penguin 1982
Newman W.M. & Lamming M.G. Interactive system design Addison-Wesley 1995
Reason, J. Managing the risks or organizational accidents Ashgate Publishing Ltd 1997

Book your place

Book your place

HUFS will not be running in the 2020/21 academic year. Future course dates are to be confirmed. 

If you have any queries, please contact Heather Taylor, our course administrator, or call 01904 325536.

Image of HUFS Teaching

Excellent team giving lectures with different personalities that worked well.