The security blunder that took thousands of lives on that fateful day is still a cause for debate. How could a few terrorists manage to walk through security, and after hijacking the planes, crash them into prominent, high-security areas in New York and Washington D.C This security lapse may well go down in history as the biggest human error to be recorded in the modern times. The airport security got it all wrong. This factor is applicable to other fields as well.
The risk of deliberate acts of terrorism, sabotage, vandalism and theft can cause the release of highly hazardous chemicals and biological gases from a process facility. This could have severs repercussion. Unless managed properly, the result could have catastrophic impact on civilization. The risk from such acts must be assessed to determine if existing security measures and safeguards are adequate or need improvement. Risk assessment is the heart of a security program (Human Factors and Human Error Analysis, http://www.primatech.com/consulting/services/human_factors_and_human_error_analysis.htm)
People are key components of the process. They are involved in process design, production, operation, maintenance, and security. No step in the process life cycle is complete without some human involvement. Also, processes are generally not well-protected from human errors since many safeguards are directly focused on equipment failure. This is evidenced by the number of major accidents that have been attributed to this cause. Aviation is no different. Technical flaws, mechanical malfunctions, security lapses, and human error have all been attributed to aviation accidents. The human factor is perhaps the major cause for concern in safety procedures. It is vital that the factors influencing the likelihood of errors be identified and assessed to determine where, and if improvements in design of a process are needed.
Surprising but true, human factor is most poorly understood in safety management. However, the standards from regulatory agencies and industry groups have underscored the importance of addressing human factors in process safety and risk management programs. This is motivating more companies to evaluate and address human factors issues in their facilities. Improving the human factors design of a process can produce not only improvements in safety, but also gains in quality, productivity and job satisfaction (Human Factors and Human Error Analysis, http://www.primatech.com/consulting/services/human_factors_and_human_error_analysis.htm)
"The Human Factors Analysis and Classification System (HFACS), is a general human error framework developed and tested within the U.S. military as a tool for investigating and analyzing the human causes of aviation accidents. Based on Reason's (1990) model of latent and active failures, HFACS addresses human error at all levels of the system, including the condition of aircrew and organizational factors. This was used to analyze human error data associated with commercial aviation accidents that occurred between