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HOF in change management

About this topic


HOF integration or assurance is recognised as a practice that helps to reduce the lifecycle cost due to the operational efficiency generated through user-centred or user-experience design, and the reduction of corrections necessary after implementation, if such an approach is not taken. In short, when a need for change appears, one of the first series of questions that should arise is about why the change is needed; how the change will affect human performance, and simultaneously, how the human performance can affect success and efficiency of the change. 

Relevance to rail 

As in other high-risk industries, railway organisations must ensure a high safety level. An important contributor to this is a systematic approach to integrating and managing Human and Organisational Factors (HOF) within the Safety Management System (SMS), including in management of change. According to the EU 4th Railway package and the common safety methods on SMS, HOF in general and even some specified topics like job design, need a strategy to be better and further integrated.  

Approaches and models 

ERA have developed a HOF toolkit based on an approach from Eurocontrol (“HF case”), already well implemented in the aviation sector. The toolkit methodology has been customised to better meet the needs of the railway sector and be consistent with the railway regulatory framework. After a series of workshops with a dedicated Task Force composed of representatives of the sector, and validation through several methodological real-life tests, the HOF Toolkit was created. The toolkit can support non-HOF specialists to prepare and perform risk and change HOF assessments, producing a HOF assurance report. 

The HOF Toolkit is made of two parts. The first part, descriptive guidance, explains in detail the 5 steps to integrate HOF more consistently and systematically in the change management process. The second part is a HOF assessment tool (in a tabular form), listing generic questions to answer and/or to ask per factor. This can be used to identify and assess the impacts of the change on HOF. Last but not least, the training to support the use and practice of the HOF Toolkit is in preparation and will be launched in 2023. 


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