Ergonomics and Forensic Engineering
Keywords:human factors, ergonomics, rubric, forensic engineering, user error
In disputes, forensic engineers routinely investigate available hardware and software and may examine other engineering attributes and activities. Human factors and ergonomic (HF&E) aspects may be considered, but these tend to be more limited or overlooked. This paper discusses an HF&E framework for forensic analysis, including its four major subdisciplines (micro-, meso-, macro-, and mega-ergonomics), the role each plays throughout the product life cycle, and examines their relationship to known and foreseeable use and misuse of a product or system. A taxonomy of errors, including distinguishing features of individual user errors versus system use errors, is presented and then used in a diagnostic rubric developed for forensic engineers to help identify HF&E issues as part of a forensic analysis. A health care setting case study is offered to demonstrate rubric use, but the rubric is generalizable to other domains.
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