June 30, 2023 | Mark Paradies

What Is Human Performance Improvement Technology?


What is HU?

Human Performance Improvement Technology (HU) is a set of tools created in the nuclear industry to reduce human errors – especially those that could compromise reactor safety.

HU stands for Human Performance. Why isn’t it called HP? Because in the nuclear industry the letters HP were already used for Health Physics. So they took the first two letters from “human” as their acronym.

What Are the HU Tools?

HU Tools
Copyrighted material – used by permission of System Improvements.

That depends. The list has never been standardized. But the following list (and the graphics above) have the most common and most popular HU Tools…

  • Procedure Use/Adherence
  • Place Keeping
  • Independent Verification
  • Three-Way Communications
  • Pre-Job Brief/Personal Safety Assessment
  • Observation and Coaching
  • Post-Job Brief
  • Concurrent Verification
  • Questioning Attitude
  • STAR
  • Time Out (Stop When Unsure)
  • Attention to Detail
  • Management of Change
  • Error Traps and Precursors
  • Validate Assumptions
  • Do Not Disturb Sign
  • Conservative Decision-Making

That’s a pretty long list of tools!

What Works? What Doesn’t?

Not all HU Tools are created equal. Some work well and are being applied across many industries. Some don’t work as well and are applied in fewer industries.

In studying these techniques we have found that some help humans be more reliable because they take into consideration human capabilities and limitations and make the strengths stronger and the weaknesses less.

Some of the techniques actually cause human limitations to be stressed. Thus, they aren’t very effective. Why are they still on the list? Because someone without a human factors background thought they were a good idea because they didn’t understand human capabilities and limitations.

How Do They Work?

You may already know how some of the techniques above work. You may have seen some of these used. But we describe all of these techniques in the Stopping Human Error Book (Book 10) and our 2-Day Stopping Human Error Training.

What’s in the Stopping Human Error Book?

The book is almost 200 pages long and covers ways to proactively and reactively improve human performance and thereby stop human errors.

Stopping Human Error Book

Here is a link to the book’s Table of Contents.

Here is a link to the book’s complete Foreword for you to read.

Here is a video about the book and the course(from 2020) …

CLICK HERE to order Book 10: Stopping Human Error.

Stopping Human Error Training in Knoxville, TN


Now for the Stopping Human Error Training. It covers a majority of the topics in the book and includes practical exercises to help you understand the techniques and ends by building a plan to implement a custom human performance improvement program for your company.

Get more course information, including the course outline, at THIS LINK.

REGISTER for the course coming up on October 4-5 in Knoxville, Tennessee, by clicking THIS LINK.

Apply Human Performance Improvement Technology at Your Site

Attend the course (where you will get the book) and get your human performance improvement program designed so you can get implementation started.

If you already have a human performance improvement program, attend the course and decide what you need to improve (and where your efforts might actually be counterproductive).

Hope to see you there!

Mark Paradies Teaching
Courses & Training, Human Performance
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