Human Organisational Performance (HOP) is a different approach to workplace safety that focuses on the human element. HOP is a philosophy that creates a local culture change for better system design. It assumes the human part is the most unpredictable factor and that human error is inevitable. Instead of the failure being the fault of a human worker, it lays the blame with the organisation and its lack of systems.

HOP is designed to encourage systems that are error tolerant. In the past, safety was centred on making workers care more and pay attention so they won’t make mistakes.

HOP factors are the elements within a workplace that influence the people who work there. Management of these factors will determine the effectiveness and safety of the workers in an organisation.

Job – the people being used to complete specific tasks

Individual – the person carrying out a task and their level of competence

Organisation – where the person is working


Who Developed HOP?

The basis for HOP was developed by two people from the US, Sidney Dekker and James Reason. Both men have a background in aviation, one of the most thoroughly investigated industries following an accident.

The aviation industry has an excellent safety record with the accident rate dropping to 5.0 to 0.35 million departures over the last 50 years. With improvements in engineering failures, human error is the main threat to aviation safety. The Civil Aviation Authority estimates that up to 75 per cent of all accidents now have a major human factor.

Sidney Dekker is a prolific best-selling author on human factors and safety as well as a professor and pilot. Dekker believes that blame stifles organisational learning and uses the tagline ‘safety with dignity.’

James Reason is also an author and professor with a background in aviation. James set out 12 principles of error management in his book Managing Maintenance Error: A Practical Guide.


Examples of Human and Organisation Factors that Impact Performance

Workers and the systems of their organisation are closely connected regarding:

Procedures – they have their place in an organisation, but if they aren’t user-friendly or they are relied upon too heavily, they can become a problem

Staff and their Workload – not having the right staff available at the time they are needed will have a detrimental impact on performance

Organisational Change – change is inevitable in every organisation, but how it is handled and the structure of the organisation will affect performance in the short and long-term

Communication – how the system and staff in place to disseminate information throughout the organisation

Design – the layout of the workplace


Improving the Human Organisational Performance of your Organisation

The following suggestions can help change the culture of the organisation and build systems that improve organisation performance.

  • Accept that error is normal
  • Stop the blame game as it doesn’t help anything
  • Build an error-tolerant system
  • Use a system to drive behaviours
  • Develop a learn and improve approach

With an experienced consultant and committed staff, your organisation can improve its safety record and performance. For more information on how Epigroup can assist, contact us today.