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Preventing drowning through design – the contribution of human factors

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A number of routes can be followed towards the prevention of drowning, such as educating on water safety, installing barriers between non-intended users and water, mitigating the consequences of submersion incidents, and design. The human factor approach to safety is that design should always be the primary route. Human factors can be applied to the design of personal protective equipment such as buoyancy aids, barriers such as pool fencing, ancillary equipment such as swimming pool covers through to information and organisational factors such as safety signs and swimming campaigns. Design should consider all potential drowning scenarios and accommodate the characteristics of those at risk. A framework is presented with examples on how human factor principles can be applied to the design of potential drowning sites and products, with suggestions for methods and techniques that can be used in the key stages of predicting potential hazards and assessing risk.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2003


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