Jul 2023

Human Factors and Commercial Risk Engineering: Enhancing Safety and Improving Risks

In the complex landscape of commercial enterprises, managing risks effectively is crucial for maintaining the safety, profitability, and reputation of an organization. While technological advancements and robust risk management systems play a significant role in mitigating risks, it is essential to recognize the impact of human factors on commercial risk engineering. Human performance, decision-making, and behavior can significantly influence the success or failure of risk management efforts. This article explores the relationship between human factors and commercial risk engineering, highlighting the importance of considering human elements to enhance safety and improve risks.

The Influence of Human Factors on Commercial Risks

Human factors encompass a wide range of elements including skills and behaviors, as well as organizational culture and system design. In commercial settings, the following human factors can significantly impact risk management:

Human Error: Despite advances in technology, human error remains a primary contributor to commercial risks. Errors can arise from various factors, such as lack of training, fatigue, stress, distractions, or poor communication. Identifying and addressing potential human error sources is essential in minimizing risk exposure.

Safety Culture: An organization’s safety culture sets the tone for risk management practices. A positive safety culture encourages open communication, learning from incidents, and proactive risk identification. Conversely, a weak safety culture can hinder risk reporting, promote complacency, and increase the likelihood of accidents.

Decision-Making: The decisions made by individuals and teams within a commercial environment can significantly impact risk outcomes. Effective decision-making involves evaluating available information, considering potential consequences, and understanding the broader context. Poor decision-making processes or biases can lead to suboptimal risk management strategies.

Training and Competence: Adequate training and competence development are crucial for equipping employees with the knowledge and skills required to manage risks effectively. Ensuring that individuals understand their roles, responsibilities, and the associated risks allows for better risk identification, assessment, and mitigation.

Integrating Human Factors into Commercial Risk Engineering

To address the influence of human factors on commercial risks, organizations can take the following steps:

Risk Assessment: Include human factors analysis in the risk assessment process. Identify potential human error sources, critical tasks, and decision points. Use third-party vendors like Risk Logic to assess the likelihood and consequences of human errors.

Training and Education: Develop comprehensive training programs that focus on risk awareness, effective communication, decision-making skills, standard/emergency operating procedures, and human error prevention. Continuously evaluate and update training content to align with evolving risks and industry best practices.

Reporting and Learning Culture: Foster a culture of reporting incidents, near misses, and potential risks without fear of blame or retribution. Establish processes for incident investigation, analysis, and dissemination of lessons learned. Encourage feedback and suggestions from employees to identify areas for improvement.

Human-Centered Design: Consider human factors in the design and implementation of processes, equipment, and systems. Ensure that interfaces are intuitive, information is clear, and workload is manageable. Involve end-users in the design process and seek their feedback to optimize usability and reduce human error risks.

Communication and Collaboration: Promote effective communication and collaboration among all stakeholders involved in risk management. Encourage open dialogue, share best practices, and facilitate cross-functional teams to address risks comprehensively. Engage employees at all levels to contribute to risk identification and mitigation efforts.

Benefits of Considering Human Factors

By incorporating human factors into commercial risk engineering, organizations can realize several benefits:

Enhanced Safety: Considering human factors helps identify potential risks associated with human error, improving safety outcomes, and reducing the likelihood of accidents and incidents.

Effective Risk Management: Integrating human factors enables organizations to develop more accurate risk assessments, implement targeted risk controls, and enhance the overall effectiveness of risk management strategies.

Employee Engagement: Creating a culture that values and considers human factors fosters employee engagement and empowers individuals to actively contribute to risk identification, mitigation, and continuous improvement.


Commercial risk engineering should not solely rely on technology and systems but also consider the critical influence of human factors. Understanding how human performance, decision-making, and behavior affect risk outcomes is essential for developing robust risk management strategies. By integrating human factors into commercial risk engineering, organizations can enhance safety, improve efficiency, and foster a proactive risk management culture. Ultimately, a holistic approach will help organizations effectively mitigate risks and thrive in an increasingly complex business environment.

Risk Logic HPR Engineers assess the human factor at each property survey. Topics covered by our engineers include: emergency response planning for fires, freeze, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, wildland fires, and adverse operating conditions; business continuity planning; fire protection/production/electrical equipment inspection, testing, and maintenance; and, a thorough evaluation of other human element programs such as assessing the maintenance of penetrations and firestopping. Contact Risk Logic today if you need a property risk assessment.