Research Papers

Computational Functional Failure Analysis to Identify Human Errors During Early Design Stages

[+] Author and Article Information
Lukman Irshad

School of Mechanical, Industrial and
Manufacturing Engineering,
Oregon State University,
Corvallis, OR 97331
e-mail: mohammoh@oregonstate.edu

Salman Ahmed

School of Mechanical, Industrial and
Manufacturing Engineering,
Oregon State University,
Corvallis, OR 97331
e-mail: ahmedsal@oregonstate.edu

H. Onan Demirel

School of Mechanical, Industrial and
Manufacturing Engineering,
Oregon State University,
Corvallis, OR 97331
e-mail: onan.demirel@oregonstate.edu

Irem Y. Tumer

School of Mechanical, Industrial and
Manufacturing Engineering,
Oregon State University,
Corvallis, OR 97331
e-mail: irem.tumer@oregonstate.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Computers and Information Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF COMPUTING AND INFORMATION SCIENCE IN ENGINEERING. Manuscript received September 14, 2018; final manuscript received January 15, 2019; published online March 18, 2019. Assoc. Editor: Jitesh H. Panchal.

J. Comput. Inf. Sci. Eng 19(3), 031005 (Mar 18, 2019) (10 pages) Paper No: JCISE-18-1244; doi: 10.1115/1.4042697 History: Received September 14, 2018; Revised January 15, 2019

Detection of potential failures and human error and their propagation over time at an early design stage will help prevent system failures and adverse accidents. Hence, there is a need for a failure analysis technique that will assess potential functional/component failures, human errors, and how they propagate to affect the system overall. Prior work has introduced functional failure identification and propagation (FFIP), which considers both human error and mechanical failures and their propagation at a system level at early design stages. However, it fails to consider the specific human actions (expected or unexpected) that contributed toward the human error. In this paper, we propose a method to expand FFIP to include human action/error propagation during failure analysis so a designer can address the human errors using human factors engineering principals at early design stages. The capabilities of the proposed method is presented via a hold-up tank example, and the results are coupled with digital human modeling to demonstrate how designers can use these tools to make better design decisions before any design commitments are made.

Copyright © 2019 by ASME
Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.


French Civil Aviation Safety Investigation Authority, 2012, “ Final Report on the Accident on 1st June 2009 to the Airbus A330-203 Registered F-GZCP Operated by Air France Flight AF 447 Rio de Janeiro–Paris,” Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses pour la sécurité de l'aviation civile, BEA, Paris, Investigation Report. https://www.bea.aero/docspa/2009/f-cp090601.en/pdf/f-cp090601.en.pdf
Wise, J. , Rio, A. , and Fedouach, M. , 2011, “ What Really Happened Aboard Air France 447,” Pop. Mech., 6, pp. 35–36. https://www.popularmechanics.com/flight/a3115/what-really-happened-aboard-air-france-447-6611877/
Salmon, P. M. , Walker, G. H. , and Stanton, N. A. , 2016, “ Pilot Error Versus Sociotechnical Systems Failure: A Distributed Situation Awareness Analysis of Air France 447,” Theor. Issues Ergon. Sci., 17(1), pp. 64–79. [CrossRef]
McIntire, M. G. , Hoyle, C. , Tumer, I. Y. , and Jensen, D. C. , 2016, “ Safety-Informed Design: Using Subgraph Analysis to Elicit Hazardous Emergent Failure Behavior in Complex Systems,” AI Edam, 30(4), pp. 466–473.
Demirel, H. O. , 2015, “ Modular Human-in-the-Loop Design Framework Based on Human Factors,” Ph.D. thesis, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN. https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/dissertations/AAI10096838/
Reason, J. , 1990, “ The Contribution of Latent Human Failures to the Breakdown of Complex Systems,” Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B, 327(1241), pp. 475–484. [CrossRef]
Wiegmann, D. A. , and Shappell, S. A. , 2001, “ Human Error Analysis of Commercial Aviation Accidents: Application of the Human Factors Analysis and Classification System (HFACS),” Aviat. Space Environ. Med., 72(11), pp. 1006–1016. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11718505 [PubMed]
Högberg, L. , 2013, “ Root Causes and Impacts of Severe Accidents at Large Nuclear Power Plants,” Ambio, 42(3), pp. 267–284. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Kohn, L. T. , Corrigan, J. M. , and Donaldson, M. S. , 2000, “ Errors in Health Care: A Leading Cause of Death And Injury,” To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System, L. T. Kohn, J. M. Corrigan and M.S. Donaldson, eds., National Academies Press, Washington, DC.
Kurtoglu, T. , and Tumer, I. Y. , 2008, “ A Graph-Based Fault Identification and Propagation Framework for Functional Design of Complex Systems,” ASME J. Mech. Des., 130(5), p. 051401. [CrossRef]
Irshad, L. , Ahmed, S. , Demirel, H. O. , and Tumer, I. Y. , 2018, “ Identification of Human Errors During Early Design Stage Functional Failure Analysis,” ASME Paper No. DETC2018-85979.
Mahadevan, S. , Smith, N. L. , and Zang, T. A. , 2003, “ System Risk Assessment and Allocation in Conceptual Design,” NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA, Report No. NASA/CR-2003-212162. https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20030053149.pdf
Kurtoglu, T. , and Tumer, I. Y. , 2007, “ FFIP: A Framework for Early Assessment of Functional Failures in Complex Systems,” ICED, Cite Des Sciences et de L'industrie, Paris, France.
Kurtoglu, T. , Tumer, I. Y. , and Jensen, D. C. , 2010, “ A Functional Failure Reasoning Methodology for Evaluation of Conceptual System Architectures,” Res. Eng. Des., 21(4), pp. 209–234. [CrossRef]
Jensen, D. C. , 2012, “ Enabling Safety-Informed Design Decision Making Through Simulation, Reasoning and Analysis,” Ph.D. thesis, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR.
Sierla, S. , Tumer, I. , Papakonstantinou, N. , Koskinen, K. , and Jensen, D. , 2012, “ Early Integration of Safety to the Mechatronic System Design Process by the Functional Failure Identification and Propagation Framework,” Mechatronics, 22(2), pp. 137–151. [CrossRef]
Lyons, M. , Adams, S. , Woloshynowych, M. , and Vincent, C. , 2004, “ Human Reliability Analysis in Healthcare: A Review of Techniques,” Int. J. Risk Saf. Med., 16(4), pp. 223–237. https://content.iospress.com/articles/international-journal-of-risk-and-safety-in-medicine/jrs321
Kirwan, B. , 1994, A Guide to Practical Human Reliability Assessment, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL.
Deeter, J. , and Rantanen, E. , 2012, “ Human Reliability Analysis in Healthcare,” Symposium on Human Factors and Ergonomics in Health Care, Baltimore, MD, Mar. 12–14, pp. 45–51.
Kirwan, B. , 1998, “ Human Error Identification Techniques for Risk Assessment of High Risk Systems—Part 1: Review and Evaluation of Techniques,” Appl. Ergon., 29(3), pp. 157–177. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Stanton, N. A. , and Stevenage, S. V. , 1998, “ Learning to Predict Human Error: Issues of Acceptability, Reliability and Validity,” Ergonomics, 41(11), pp. 1737–1756. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Embrey, D. , 1986, “ SHERPA: A Systematic Human Error Reduction and Prediction Approach,” International Topical Meeting on Advances in Human Factors in Nuclear Power Systems, Knoxville, TN, Apr. 21–24, pp. 184–193.
Harris, D. , Stanton, N. A. , Marshall, A. , Young, M. S. , Demagalski, J. , and Salmon, P. , 2005, “ Using SHERPA to Predict Design-Induced Error on the Flight Deck,” Aerosp. Sci. Technol., 9(6), pp. 525–532. [CrossRef]
Hughes, C. M. , Baber, C. , Bienkiewicz, M. , Worthington, A. , Hazell, A. , and Hermsdörfer, J. , 2015, “ The Application of SHERPA (Systematic Human Error Reduction and Prediction Approach) in the Development of Compensatory Cognitive Rehabilitation Strategies for Stroke Patients With Left and Right Brain Damage,” Ergonomics, 58(1), pp. 75–95. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Williams, J. , 1988, “ A Data-Based Method for Assessing and Reducing Human Error to Improve Operational Performance,” IEEE Fourth Conference on Human Factors and Power Plants, Monterey, CA, June 5–9, pp. 436–450.
Swain, A. , 1964, “ THERP Technique for Human Error Rate Prediction,” Symposium on Quantification of Human Performance, Albuquerque, NM.
Gertman, D. , Blackman, H. , Marble, J. , Byers, J. , Smith, C. , and O'™Reilly, P. , 2005, “ The Spar-h Human Reliability Analysis Method,” U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC, Report No. NUREG/CR-6883. https://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/nuregs/contract/cr6883/cr6883.pdf
Cooper, S. E. , Ramey-Smith, A. , Wreathall, J. , Parry, G. W. , Bley, D. C. , Luckas, J. W. , Taylor, H. , and Barriere, T. M. , 1996, “ A Technique for Human Error Analysis (Atheana),” Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC; Division of Systems Technology; Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY; Science Applications International Corporation, Reston, VA; NUS Corporation, Gaithersburg, MD, Report No. NUREG/CR-6350.
Hollnagel, E. , 1998, Cream-Cognitive Reliability and Error Analysis Method, Elsevier Science, Oxford.
Le Bot, P. , Cara, F. , and Bieder, C. , 1999, “ MERMOS, a Second Generation HRA Method: What It Does and Doesn't Do,” International Topical Meeting on Probabilistic Safety Assessment (PSA'99), Washington, DC, Aug. 22–26, pp. 852–880.
Pocock, S. , Harrison, M. D. , Wright, P. C. , and Johnson, P. , 2001, “ Thea: A Technique for Human Error Assessment Early in Design,” Vol. 1, Interact, IOC press, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, pp. 247–254.
US Department of Defense, 1980, Mil-std-1629a. Department of Defense, Washington, DC, Report No. US Department of Defense, Washington, DC.
Vesely, W. E. , Goldberg, F. F. , Roberts, N. H. , and Haasl, D. F. , 1981, Fault Tree Handbook. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC, Report No. NUREG-0492.
Stone, R. B. , Tumer, I. Y. , and Van Wie, M. , 2005, “ The Function-Failure Design Method,” ASME J. Mech. Des., 127(3), pp. 397–407. [CrossRef]
Lough, K. G. , Stone, R. , and Tumer, I. Y. , 2009, “ The Risk in Early Design Method,” J. Eng. Des., 20(2), pp. 155–173. [CrossRef]
Huang, Z. , and Jin, Y. , 2008, “ Conceptual Stress and Conceptual Strength for Functional Design-for-Reliability,” ASME Paper No. DETC2008-49347.
Ericson, C. A. , 2015, “ Event Tree Analysis,” Hazard Analysis Techniques for System Safety, Wiley, Hoboken, NJ, pp. 223–234.
Krus, D. , and Lough, K. G. , 2007, “ Applying Function-Based Failure Propagation in Conceptual Design,” ASME Paper No. DETC2007-35475.
Short, A. R. , 2016, “ Design of Autonomous Systems for Survivability Through Conceptual Object-Based Risk Analysis,” Masters Thesis, Golden, CO. https://mountainscholar.org/handle/11124/170260
Hirtz, J. , Stone, R. B. , McAdams, D. A. , Szykman, S. , and Wood, K. L. , 2002, “ A Functional Basis for Engineering Design: Reconciling and Evolving Previous Efforts,” Res. Eng. Des., 13(2), pp. 65–82. [CrossRef]
Sangelkar, S. , and McAdams, D. A. , 2011, “ Formalizing User Activity-Product Function Association Based Design Rules for Universal Products,” ASME Paper No. DETC2011-47926.
Sangelkar, S. , and Mcadams, D. A. , 2012, “ Creating Actionfunction Diagrams for User Centric Design,” 119th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, American Society for Engineering Education, San Antonio, TX, June 10–13.
Demirel, H. O. , and Duffy, V. G. , 2007, “ Applications of Digital Human Modeling in Industry,” International Conference on Digital Human Modeling, Springer, Beijing, China, July 22–27, pp. 824–832.
Aldemir, T. , 1987, “ Computer-Assisted Markov Failure Modeling of Process Control Systems,” IEEE Trans. Reliab., 36(1), pp. 133–144. [CrossRef]
Siu, N. , 1994, “ Risk Assessment for Dynamic Systems: An Overview,” Reliab. Eng. Syst. Saf., 43(1), pp. 43–73. [CrossRef]
Cojazzi, G. , 1996, “ The Dylam Approach for the Dynamic Reliability Analysis of Systems,” Reliab. Eng. Syst. Saf., 52(3), pp. 279–296. [CrossRef]
Hofer, E. , Kloos, M. , Krzykacz-Hausmann, B. , Peschke, J. , and Woltereck, M. , 2002, “ An Approximate Epistemic Uncertainty Analysis Approach in the Presence of Epistemic and Aleatory Uncertainties,” Reliab. Eng. Syst. Saf., 77(3), pp. 229–238. [CrossRef]
Billings, C. E. , 1991, “ Human-Centered Aircraft Automation: A Concept and Guidelines,” NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, Report No: NASA TM-103885.
Stanton, N. A. , 2014, “ Representing Distributed Cognition in Complex Systems: How a Submarine Returns to Periscope Depth,” Ergonomics, 57(3), pp. 403–418. [CrossRef] [PubMed]


Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

The architecture of human error and functional failure reasoning (HEFFR) method

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Generic action sequence graph

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

System model of a hold up tank

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Action simulation step 1 for actions reach and grasp

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Action simulation step 2 for outlet valve

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Human error and functional failure reasoning simulation scenario 1

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

Reach envelope of a fifth percentile U.S. female

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 8

Digital human modeling vision analysis showing the obscuration zone (left) and reach analysis showing that the valve is accessible (right)



Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging and repositioning the boxes below.

Related Journal Articles
Related eBook Content
Topic Collections

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In