USHST supports safety system of human performance improvement

Members of the U.S. Helicopter Safety Team have completed their collaboration with safety experts within the HAI Utilities, Patrol and Construction (UPAC) Working Group to revise the UPAC Safety Guide for Helicopter Operators. A key section added to the revision focuses on the safety system of human performance improvement (HPI). This is an approach that combines education, methods and controls designed to eliminate latent and active organizational weaknesses, identify areas of improvement, and increase performance and efficiencies.


HPI principles are centered around an individual’s inherent tendency to make mistakes. The HPI goal is for individuals and organizations to understand when and where an individual could err and to use knowledgeable sources to employ error prevention methods.

The revised UPAC Safety Guide, found on the USHST web site linked with Helicopter Safety Enhancement 13-A, now includes a chapter on HPI and a section on HPI tools. These tools are intended to make sure that individuals are self-aware of potential risks and that they understand the necessary, effective mitigation methods. The following table describes the HPI tools that are commonly used in UPAC activities.

HPI tools

HPI in UPAC activities


HPI is a valuable system that works together with existing programs to sustain cohesive safety and performance values across organizations. It helps by developing a systematic approach to decision-making, self-awareness, and communication among multiple perspectives. It proactively prevents unwanted outcomes caused by human error.

Aerial work requires foresight in planning and performance, consistency in methods, and accurate decision-making skills to effectively communicate, process, and react to situations. Error reduction is an effective approach to ensuring consistency. By utilizing HPI to recognize that humans are inherently fallible and to understand error traps, individuals and organizations can predict, manage, and prevent error-likely situations. In this industry, that means reducing equipment damage, damage to the electrical grid, injury, and even death.

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