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  • Writer's pictureJake Mazulewicz, Ph.D.

Error "Postcursors"(?) -- a four-minute video

Updated: Feb 16, 2021

"Error Precursors are unfavorable prior conditions at the job site that increase the probability for error during a specific action; that is, error-likely situations.”

From The Department of Energy (DOE) Human Performance Handbook, Volume 1 of 2, p.23 of 75 in the PDF.

When an incident occurs, many leaders ask, “What Error Precursors contributed to this incident?”

  • I used to ask this question when I helped investigate incidents.

  • I used to believe that the concept of Error Precursors was a good one.

  • I used to think that the list of Error Precursors from the DOE Handbook (pp.65-73 in he PDF) was practical.

Not anymore.

Why not?

And what do I teach instead?

Watch the 4-minute video below to find out... and to get a practical solution you can apply immediately.

Highlights include:

  • What's wrong with Precursors -- 00:21

  • How to fix it -- 02:07

  • An example of how an electric utility switching team could apply the solution -- 03:26

Also, this...

"A Postcursor Video by Dr. Jake Mazulewicz, JMA Human Reliability Strategies ( was the inspiration for the EFCOG Human Performance Improvement Task Group (HPI TG) to have a conversation about Error Precursors."

From Asking Better Error Precursor Questions for Effective Job Planning, Pre-Job Briefs, and Event Investigations." a white paper published by the US Department of Energy's EFCOG Human Performance Task Team. December 2020. p.5.

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