September 17, 2019 | Susan Napier-Sewell

Five Steps to Improving Human Performance

How do you “fix” human performance?

First, let’s measure what happens that causes you to recognize a human performance problem (check all that apply):

  • People in your organization make the same mistakes over and over or make the same type of errors repeatedly.
  • Discipline is the main way you go about “fixing” human performance occurrences.
  • You’ve experimented with techniques to improve human performance and discovered they don’t accomplish long-term results. Maybe a short-term improvement but nothing sustainable.
  • You (or your management) actively search for solutions to human error issues.

If you’d like to learn sustainable best practices to improve human performance from industry human performance experts, implement this five-step plan:


The TapRoot® Root Cause Analysis Training Course System is made to reactively and proactively help you solve human performance issues. The System has built-in human factors expert systems that guide you to the root causes of human errors and help you develop effective fixes. The 5-Day TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis Training Course is the best way to learn the system and get started fixing human performance issues. Also, read and learn from Barb Carr’s excellent article, “The Benefit of Task Analysis During an Investigation.”


Joel Haight, a human factors expert, teaches basic and advanced knowledge of human error prevention in a 2-day course. The course, Stopping Human Error, is offered once a year, at the Global TapRooT® Summit.

Blame is common after an accident. After all, it’s a human-made mistake. So, it must be that person’s fault, right? Or is it? Sometimes errors are designed into the system. You can find and fix these system causes of human error before the accident happens.

The goal of this course is to teach you to understand human error—including how humans operate and what our capacities, constraints, and needs are—so that we can maximize human performance and minimize human errors.

Would you like to understand human errors and learn how to recognize, analyze, predict, and categorize them? Most importantly, how to stop them? In a TapRooT® course, you’ll learn how to minimize errors with tools that can be used in conjunction with the TapRooT® System and can be incorporated into your corrective actions. You will leave the course knowing how to use TapRooT® Techniques in your own organization.

There will be hands-on exercises, including an analysis of an unsolved example (a case that involves human error) that you will bring from your facility. We’ll dissect it, learn about what happened, and solve it during the course.



  • Understanding Human Cognitive Performance
    • Visual and Sensory Systems
    • Auditory, Tactile, and Vestibular Systems
    • Cognition Exercise
    • Decision Making and Decision Making Exercise
  • Understanding Human Physical Performance
    • Anthropometrics
    • Biomechanics
    • Work Physiology
    • Ergonomics
  • The Human in the System
    • Stress and Workload
    • Fatigue
    • Human-Computer Interaction
    • Automation
    • Picking the Right Person and Training
    • Social Factors
    • Displays and Controls
    • Exercise


  • Methods for Analyzing Human Performance
    • Observational Data
    • Poisson Distributions
    • Binomial Distributions
    • THERP
    • MAPPS
    • OAT
    • FTA
  • Human Performance Tools for Error Prevention/Reduction
    • Procedure Use/Adherence
    • Place Keeping
    • Independent Verification
    • Three-Way Communications
    • Pre-Job Brief
    • Concurrent Verification
    • Questioning Attitude
    • STAR
    • Time Out (Stop When Unsure)
    • Attention to Detail
    • Rule of Three/Conservative Decision Making
    • Error Traps and Precursors
    • Validate Assumptions
    • Do Not Disturb Sign

Upon completion of the course, attendees will receive a certificate of completion and a 90-day subscription to TapRooT® VI Software, our dynamic cloud-based software that computerizes the Equifactor® and TapRooT® Techniques.

3. Attend the Improving Human Performance Track at the 2020 Global TapRooT® Summit

Once a year, we feature a track at the Global TapRooT® Summit designed to share best practices and the latest state-of-the-art techniques to improve human performance. The 2020 Summit is March 11 – 13 at Horseshoe Bay Resort, near Austin, Texas. Pre-Summit courses are March 9 – 10. The keynote speakers will also not disappoint.

Here are the sessions for the 2020 Global TapRooT® Summit Improving Human Performance Track (use the dropdown menu to select track).

  • TapRooT® Users Share Best Practices
  • Human Performance
  • What’s Stopping Human Error All About?
  • Automation & Awareness
  • Lessons Learned from Space
  • Improving Your Manufacturing Process
  • CHAP Workshop
  • Where Does Discipline Fit In Investigations?

4. Learn from the How to Stop Human Error Video Series

You can tell your employees to “be careful,” and even work with them on self-checking for errors . . . but people are really bad at self-monitoring. For a reduction in the number of mistakes your workers make, you need human factors solutions that prevent the opportunity for your workers to make errors.

We have some ideas. Click the image below to visit our YouTube channel and view the 4-part series, “How to Stop Human Error.”

5. Start where you are: Analyze your human performance issues and implement improvements with TapRooT® Training

TapRooT® Training is global to facilitate organizations needing to solve problems. For more than 30 years, we’ve developed and continually improved a powerful root cause analysis system supported by effective training and the patented TapRooT® VI Software. Industry leaders use the TapRooT® System to improve safety, human performance, equipment reliability, and quality by investigating precursor incidents before major accidents happen.

To facilitate problem-solving your human performance issues, you may choose from our complete schedule of public courses, or TapRooT® can provide training at your site to get the most people trained at one time. We can help you develop a roadmap for a world-class improvement program using TapRooT® advanced root cause analysis. Contact us or call us at 865.539.2139 to get started.

Human Performance, Root Cause Analysis
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