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Design, usability and unsafe behaviour in the home

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posted on 10.05.2011, 15:05 authored by Hilary McDermottHilary McDermott, Roger Haslam, Alistair Gibb
Each year, almost 4,000 deaths occur within the UK as a result of a home accident and 2.8 million domestic accidents result in the casualty requiring hospital treatment. New homes include many safety features to protect occupiers from injury, however the effectiveness of these can be dependent upon user behaviour. This research examined how behaviour interacts with design and how this may lead to an increased risk of injury. Forty, in-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with individuals inhabiting a new home. Various behaviours were reported in relation to building features including fire doors, pipes and loft access. The accounts demonstrate that designers need to give greater consideration to the interaction between occupier behaviour and building features so that improvements in design and occupier education may lead to improved health and safety.



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MCDERMOTT, H.J., HASLAM, R.A. and GIBB, A.G., 2006. Design, usability and unsafe behaviour in the home. IN: Bust, P.D. (ed.). Contemporary Ergonomics 2006: Proceedings of the International Conference on Contemporary Ergonomics 2006. London: Taylor & Francis.


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This conference paper was presented at the International Conference on Contemporary Ergonomics, Cambridge, UK, 4th-6th April 2006. The conference proceedings are available at: http://www.taylorandfrancis.com/



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