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Publications EXP248-2015


EXP248-2015 - Pipeline human factors

Publication Year:

  • 2015

Total Pages:



  • CSA


This is the first edition of CSA EXP248, Pipeline human factors. This Express Document is not a consensus product; that is, it is not a Standard and it has not been formally reviewed or approved by a CSA Technical Committee.

Human factors play an important role in the reduction of pipeline incidents. Consideration of human factors through the life cycle of a pipeline asset can result in better pipeline performance.

The main goal of this Express Document is to improve pipeline safety performance through management of risks associated with human factors. Where available, reference to existing standards and/or regulations is provided. Where no guidance is currently available, guidance has been provided.

This Express Document provides information that can be scaled to organizationsí size and complexity, and that scaling would be at the discretion of the organization.

There is considerable confusion about the definition of human factors and ergonomics, particularly in North America. The International Ergonomics Association (IEA) is an organization made up of the various worldwide societies (the Federated Societies) representing ergonomics and human factors professionals. After much work on the part of the IEA to obtain input from Federated Society representatives around the world and representing various facets of human factors/ergonomics, a consensus definition was published in 2000, as follows: "Ergonomics (or human factors) is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimise human well-being and overall system performance."

In spite of this consensus definition, researchers, practitioners, and organizations continue to define ergonomics and human factors in a variety of ways. Some use the terms synonymously, as in the definition above, while others define ergonomics as encompassing the physical aspects and human factors as encompassing the cognitive elements of human-system interaction, or believe that ergonomics is a subset of human factors or vice versa. This can create an issue in practice as organisations that might benefit from the integration of human factors/ergonomics into their work but have come to understand these terms in a certain way might not realise the resources available to them. In some languages, such as French, both "ergonomics" and "human factors", in the context of the definition above, are translated as "ergonomie". Given the disparity in the use of the terminology, the wide scope of practice (see Figure 4.1), and the specialty areas within which an individual may practice, organizations seeking human factors/ergonomics expertise need to exercise their due diligence in ensuring that the scope of any practitioners whom they might utilize and the organizationís area of need are aligned, regardless of whether they chose to utilize "ergonomics" or "human factors" descriptors.


This Express Document (herein referred to as "this Document") provides guidance on the need and means to integrate human factors in all aspects of the pipeline life cycle and management system, and the philosophical considerations involved in the integration of human factors into a "fit for service" pipeline system.

It also provides guidance on the elements of a human factors program, the tools and resources available to execute a human factors program successfully, and ongoing management of a human factors program.

This Document does not expressly speak to the concept of safety culture; however, some of the human factors practices described herein support the development and implementation of a robust positive safety culture.

Note: For information about organizational safety culture and related guidance, please see the National Energy Boardís Statement on Safety Culture, the International Atomic Energy Agencyís Safety Guide No. 75-INSAG-4, or other documents readily available online.

This Document focuses on the pipeline industry with potential application to other industries. Due to the complexity of the subject matter, this Document cannot describe all the tools and resources available; selected tools and resources provide a sampling of what is available.

Information has been sourced from several other industries such as aviation, nuclear energy, medicine, the military, and chemical, refining, oil, and gas industries, but an exhaustive search of all industries proved impractical.

In this Document, "shall" is used to express a requirement, i.e., a provision that the user is obliged to satisfy in order to comply with the document; "should" is used to express a recommendation or that which is advised but not required; and "may" is used to express an option or that which is permissible within the limits of the Document.

Notes accompanying clauses do not include requirements or alternative requirements; the purpose a note accompanying a clause is to separate from the text explanatory or informative material.

Notes to tables and figures are considered part of the table or figure and may be written as requirements.

Annexes are designated normative (mandatory) or informative (non-mandatory) to define their application.

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QST REG No R1006017360