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IRIC safety alert


Published on 21 February 2022

Issued: 21 February 2022 – Review Date: 21 February 2023

Provision and use of health technology: human factors training


Human factors are central to health and social care including the safe provision and use of health technology. NHS Education for Scotland (NES) has launched online introductory courses on Turas showing how human factors contributes to improving health and social care work. IRIC is highlighting these courses to staff providing and using health technology in their everyday jobs.


  • Bring this notice to the attention of managers and staff involved in the provision and use of health technologies.
  • Ensure level 1 is embedded in education and training programmes for managers and staff
  • Encourage managers and staff to undertake higher levels as required


Human factors is concerned with the design of work systems and technology to make them fit the contexts where they are used and those who use them. It makes work easier and safer to do so people are less likely to do the wrong thing.

NHS Education for Scotland (NES) has launched an accredited 1-hour online introduction to show how human factors contributes to improving health and social care work. The module is titled Human Factors/Ergonomics (Safety Science) for Patient Safety Level 1 (2 other advanced levels are also available) It was developed jointly by NES and Loughborough University and has been accredited by the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors.

The course aims to promote the use of Human Factors as a ‘way of thinking’ about everyday work and technology and how it relates to health and social care. The provision and use of health technology is integral to the provision of health and social care. It is therefore an important element in the role that Human Factors has in improving the performance and well-being of people (patients and staff), teams and organisations by design and an integrated systems approach.

The module is suitable for managers and staff and it is available within Turas which is NES’ single, unified platform for health and social care tools and learning resources. It can be accessed using this link: ergonomics-safety-science

Reference: SIM2201 Issued: 21 February 2022 Review Date: 21 February 2023

Equipment details

  • Medical devices, e.g. infusion pump, central line, hoist, care bed, x-ray machine, ventilator
  • Software as a medical device, e.g. symptom checkers, clinical calculators
  • In vitro diagnostic devices or IVDs, e.g. blood analyser, reagent, SARS-CoV-2 test kit
  • Estates and facilities, e.g. electrical installations, window restrictors, nurse call systems
  • Social care equipment, e.g. mobile wheeled commode, powered rise and recline chair
  • Personal protective equipment or PPE, e.g. visors, FFP3 respirators, Type IIR surgical masks

Suggested onward distribution

  • Healthcare Ambulance Services Blood Transfusion Day Surgery
  • Dental Hospitals
  • General Dental Practitioners General Medical Practitioners Health Centres
  • Hospices Paediatrics
  • Corporate and Support Device Managers Health & Safety IT/Computing
  • Medical Physics Risk Management
  • Estates & Facilities Capital Planning & Design Fire Safety Advisors
  • Social Care
  • Adult Care Services
  • Adult Residential Services Care Homes
  • Children’s Services
  • Health, safety and wellbeing Home Care services Loaned Equipment Stores Special Schools


Enquiries and adverse incident reports should be addressed to:

Incident Reporting & Investigation Centre (IRIC)
NHS National Services Scotland
Gyle Square, 1 South Gyle Crescent,
Edinburgh EH12 9EB
Tel: 0131 275 7575

IRIC remit

General information about adverse incidents, safety alerts and IRIC’s role can be found in CEL 43 (2009), Safety of Health, Social Care, Estates and Facilities Equipment: NHS Board and Local Authority Responsibilities, issued 30 October 2009.

Report an incident

Information on how to report an adverse incident

NHS National Services Scotland is the common name for the Common Services Agency for the Scottish Health Service

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