Human Factors in Nondestructive Examination (NUREG/CR-7295, PNNL-32505)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: October 2021
Date Published: March 2022

Prepared by:
T. Sanquist, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
S. Morrow, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
J. Harrison, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
C. Nove, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Carol Nove, NRC Contracting Officer Representative

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
902 Battelle Blvd, Richland, WA 99354

Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington DC 20555-0001

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This report summarizes key findings from a five-year research program investigating the different ways human factors influence nondestructive examination (NDE) outcomes. The research team reviewed specific incidents and events involving manual and encoded ultrasonic testing and conducted detailed interview studies with NDE examiners. The results from these studies reveal a range of organizational, group, environmental, task, and individual factors that combine to influence NDE reliability. The research team integrated these findings with contemporary concepts of latent organizational error to illustrate how multiple interacting factors can lead to suboptimal outcomes when performing qualified examinations. This information provides a technical basis for understanding the precipitating factors that can lead to human error in NDE and various system-level and person-level interventions that can mitigate errors. System-level mitigations include organizational approaches to information accuracy, inspection scheduling, data review and interpretation, workforce skill development, and change management. Person-level mitigations include shift scheduling to avoid fatigue, reducing distraction and time pressure, individual skill development through training and practice, knowledgeable team composition, cognitive aiding, and individual data review processes. Human error is a systems problem, which can be reduced by various interventions to manage the inherent variability in organizational processes and cognitive functions at the individual level.

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Monday, April 04, 2022