Application of activity theory to analysis of human-related accidents: method and case studies

Yoon, Young Sik, Ham, Dong-Han ORCID logoORCID: and Yoon, Wan Chul (2016) Application of activity theory to analysis of human-related accidents: method and case studies. Reliability Engineering and System Safety, 150 . pp. 22-34. ISSN 0951-8320 [Article] (doi:10.1016/j.ress.2016.01.013)


This study proposes a new approach to human-related accident analysis based on activity theory. Most of the existing methods seem to be insufficient for comprehensive analysis of human activity-related contextual aspects of accidents when investigating the causes of human errors. Additionally, they identify causal factors and their interrelationships with a weak theoretical basis. We argue that activity theory offers useful concepts and insights to supplement existing methods. The proposed approach gives holistic contextual backgrounds for understanding and diagnosing human-related accidents. It also helps identify and organise causal factors in a consistent, systematic way. Two case studies in Korean nuclear power plants are presented to demonstrate the applicability of the proposed method. Human Factors Analysis and Classification System (HFACS) was also applied to the case studies. The results of using HFACS were then compared with those of using the proposed method. These case studies showed that the proposed approach could produce a meaningful set of human activity-related contextual factors, which cannot easily be obtained by using existing methods. It can be especially effective when analysts think it is important to diagnose accident situations with human activity-related contextual factors derived from a theoretically sound model and to identify accident-related contextual factors systematically.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Computer Science
Item ID: 19224
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Dong-Han Ham
Date Deposited: 13 Apr 2016 13:18
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2020 11:32

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