Description: In 1962 at a Human Factors Society symposium, Alan Swain presented a paper introducing a Technique for Human Error Rate Prediction (THERP). This was followed in 1963 by a Sandia Laboratories monograph outlining basic human error quantification using THERP and, in 1964, by a special journal edition of Human Factors on quantification of human performance. Throughout the 1960s, Swain and his colleagues focused on collecting human performance data for the Sandia Human Error Rate Bank (SHERB), primarily in connection with supporting the reliability of nuclear weapons assembly in the US. In 1969, Swain met with Jens Rasmussen of Risø National Laboratory and discussed the applicability of THERP to nuclear power applications. By 1975, in WASH-1400, Swain had articulated the use of THERP for nuclear power applications, and the approach was finalized in the watershed publication of the NUREG/CR-1278 in 1983. THERP is now 50 years old, and remains the most well known and most widely used HRA method. In this paper, the author discusses the history of THERP, based on published reports and personal communication and interviews with Swain. The author also outlines the significance of THERP. The foundations of human reliability analysis are found in THERP: human failure events, task analysis, performance shaping factors, human error probabilities, dependence, event trees, recovery, and pre- and post-initiating events were all introduced in THERP. While THERP is not without its detractors, and it is showing signs of its age in the face of newer technological applications, the longevity of THERP is a testament of its tremendous significance. THERP started the field of human reliability analysis. This paper concludes with a discussion of THERP in the context of newer methods, which can be seen as extensions of or departures from Swain’s pioneering work.
Date: June 1, 2012
Creator: Boring, Ronald L.
Item Type: Refine your search to only Article
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department