ASMIS gains powerful new tool – HFACS 8.0

By Christopher Acord, U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center, Directorate of Analysis and PreventionFebruary 6, 2024

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FORT NOVOSEL, Ala. -- The recently approved Human Factors Analysis and Classification System, version 8.0 (HFACS) is now fully integrated into three modules of the Army Safety Management Information System (ASMIS).

The three modules in ASMIS benefitting from the HFACS 8.0 integration include Assessments, Inspections and Surveys; Hazard Management; and Mishap and Near-miss Reporting.

What is the HFACS?

HFACS is a structured tool with a standardized set of definitions of human factors and system failures organized into a taxonomy.

The premise of the HFACS taxonomy is that on-duty mishaps, near-misses and occupational hazards are rarely attributable to a single cause or an individual’s active failure (a.k.a., an unsafe act).

Instead, mishaps are the result of a series of long-standing, unassessed, ineffectively assessed or undetected hazardous conditions called system inadequacies (a.k.a., latent failures or root causes). These system inadequacies evolve from multiple levels of an organization and are influenced by a combination of flaws in policy and procedures, training, resource support and supervisory functions. System inadequacies may go undetected for days, weeks, months, or longer prior to their manifestation as a near-miss or mishap.

Originally developed by Dr. Douglas Wiegmann and Dr. Scott Shappell for U.S. Naval Aviation and based on James Reason’s mishap causation model (1990), the classification system was adopted by the Department of Defense in 2005 for the aviation community. Since then, the taxonomy has undergone three major revisions to meet demands for application across all communities of practice. The most recent version, HFACS 8.0, was approved for use by the Joint Services Safety Council in June 2022.

Historically, the HFACS tool has been used by safety personnel who conduct investigations of all on-duty mishaps, personnel assigned to formal safety investigation boards, human factor experts, as well as research and systems analysts who study trends in lagging indicators.

What many safety personnel and leaders may not be aware of is that the HFACS tool also aids Army safety personnel in determining the system inadequacies responsible for hazardous conditions (a.k.a., deficiencies) identified during workplace hazard inspections, as well as those reported by Army personnel. This is a major step towards helping Army safety improve mishap prevention strategies through capturing, recording and analyzing the leading indicators before they manifest into a mishap.

How does the HFACS tool benefit your command and the Army?

For the Army and DOD: The HFACS taxonomy provides Army commanders and the DOD with a data-driven approach to meet the intent of DOD Instruction 6055.07 to: “Establish procedures to provide for the cross-feed of human error data using a common human error categorization system that involves human factors taxonomy accepted among the DoD Components and U.S. Coast Guard.”

For safety personnel: The HFACS taxonomy has a more immediate return as it is easily applied to hazard analysis, and all mishaps and near mishaps.

  • First – it aids in the development of interview questions, especially during a workplace inspection or mishap investigation where you may need to close the loop with targeted, closed-ended questions.
  • Second – it provides a framework of a more structured analysis of human error pathways when used in conjunction with a cause-and-effect mapping tool.
  • Third – it helps highlight the system inadequacies (latent failures/root causes) within an organization’s safety management system that affected individual performance.
  • Lastly – it aids in the development of targeted recommendations to correct the identified system inadequacies.

For commanders: When the tool is used effectively to identify the key system inadequacies, it aids in improving risk management strategies within their Army Safety and Occupational Health Management System.

How can I learn more?

You can find a series of Common Access Card-enabled tutorials and training videos on the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center website under the ASMIS banner. Simply click on the link to “ASMIS Training” under the Available Training tab at