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Why Does Human Error Happen and How Can You Prevent it?

If you’ve ever felt frustrated by your own or an employee’s error, you’re not alone. No one enjoys making mistakes, especially in business settings where time equals money. Case in point: Unplanned breaks at manufacturing plants can be traced back to human error nearly a quarter of the time.

The good news is that it’s possible to reduce human error by a significant amount. However, it’s still important to understand not just that people make mistakes, but why they do it. Below are some main reasons why, as well as how their effects can be lessened.

Stress and Sleep Deprivation

Like machines, humans function at their highest capacity when everything’s running smoothly. However, the human machine is notoriously complex. If someone is under a great deal of stress at home, she may become more prone to errors at work. Additionally, workers who get too little quality sleep may find themselves coming to faulty conclusions.

Employers can help workers alleviate these problems by encouraging staffers to lead productive lives outside of the job. Having a rich personal life enables an employee to return to the office or plant refreshed, positive, and recharged day after day.

Emotions and Personal Inclinations

People like to think that they can make fully objective choices. Though they can get close, they may still tend to lead with their feelings instead of data. Emotion-driven choices can have long-term ramifications. For instance, someone who over orders supplies because of a “gut instinct” despite information to the contrary could leave the employer with an overload of inventory.

The way to overcome this common tendency is for personnel and supervisors to recognize and acknowledge their human emotion limits. That way, they can keep themselves in check by not only taking error prevention training, but by concentrating on making decisions based solely on figures rather than intuition.

Lack of Knowledge

People may assume that they understand a topic or area, such as how to prevent human error in workplace settings. But they could be quite incorrect. As humans, we may think we’re experts in a range of topics, even though we’re not. Our overconfidence leads us to inflexible thinking caused by limited education.

Constant learning is the best antidote to misplaced self-assuredness. Companies can offer their team members regulatory compliance courses online, human error reduction training, and other classes on a routine basis. As workers build their real know-how, they’ll begin to replace what they assume they know with real facts.

Limited Planning and Haste

As human error investigation pros can attest, numerous mistakes can be linked to knee-jerk reactions and last-minute changes. It’s hardly unusual to see multiple errors in a project that was haphazardly pulled together without enough time, calculations, or considerations.

Obviously, the answer to fix human errors related to this issue is straightforward: Insist upon proper planning before execution. For instance, a team may be asked to undergo regulatory compliance courses online before they can move forward with what they think will be a terrific concept. Making everyone aware of compliance issues prior to mapping out a new strategy can reduce the likelihood that they might overlook important compliance considerations and therefore make errors.

Humans will always make blunders from time to time. Nonetheless, managers who understand why many mistakes happen can figure out ways to head off major errors.