Scott Shappell receives national award for research on pilot fatigue

CLEMSON — A Clemson University professor’s work to identify fatigue and other human factors that lead to airplane accidents has earned him the top award from the Aerospace Human Factors Association.

Scott Shappell, an industrial engineering professor, has received the 2010 Henry L. Taylor Founder’s Award for outstanding contributions in the field of aerospace human factors.

“Scott Shappell is a well-known human-factors professional who has made significant contributions to the field,” the association wrote in presenting the award. “In addition to his early work on fatigue and shift work, he is probably best known for his research in the areas of human error, human-factors safety-management systems and fatigue effects on performance.”

Shappell is co-developer of two important tools, the Human Factors Analysis and Classification System (HFACS) and Human Factors Intervention Matrix, that are used to identify and prevent human factors associated with accidents in high-risk industries such as aviation, mining, rail, energy and medicine.

“HFACS has quickly become a standard for human-factors analysis of accidents/incidents across many domains, a testimony to its broad general appeal,” the award noted.

Shappell joined Clemson in 2005 from the Federal Aviation Administration, where he was the human-factors research branch manager at the Civil Aerospace Medical Institute. He has been honored by a number of associations in the fields of aviation safety and human factors, including the Society of U.S. Naval Flight Surgeons, the Aerospace Medical Association and the Flight Safety Foundation, International.

The Henry L. Taylor award is given based on research, special contributions and general leadership in the field. The award winner delivers a lecture at the association’s annual meeting that addresses a scientific or technical topic.

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