Seminar Series

Yak vs. Cherry picker: A case study of human factors in accident causation (UC and NZ Society of Safety Engineering)


A/Prof Dirk Pons


University of Canterbury

Time & Place

Fri, 21 Aug 2020 12:00:00 NZST in Online, Zoom


This presentation is about the human factors involved in an aviation accident in NZ between a Yak and a cherry picker.

I will identify the typical types of human error, contextualise these to the accident, and illustrate how such accidents can be represented in the barrier bowtie method.

Human factors are the things that go wrong in the interactions between a team of people and a system of technology. This is part of a broader transdisciplinary field called engineering psychology, which as the name suggests, draws from both engineering and psychology.  Many, if not most, catastrophic accidents involve a socio-technical interaction, i.e. are not solely due to technology failure. Hence there is a need to consider human factors in the development or deployment of any technical system.

The content of the presentation is primarily directed to industry practitioners interested in better health and safety outcomes, e.g. in plant operations or construction management. Those involved in event management may also find the content useful for their work. Prospective postgraduate students may also find inspiration for future research topics.

Mech Eng, Dirk Pons, Public Seminar

The content is suitable for a general audience and does not require any deep understanding of engineering, psychology, aviation, yaks, or cherries.

Please join via Zoom:

Zoom Meeting ID: 947 2466 4082
Passcode: BOWTIE


A/Prof Dirk Pons primarily explores the application of engineering in industry and in professional practice. Much of this work is transdisciplinary and integrates across multiple fields. ManI have undertaken multiple projects that were embedded

Dirk Pons