The application of human factors during design is often known as human factors engineering (HFE). There are a few tools that can be used at the different stages of design, from early concept, through front end engineering to detailed design. The sooner you start the better, whilst recognising the detail of any analysis will be limited by the detil available at the stage of the project.
Human Factors Engineering specifications – one of my frustrations with engineering project is that a HFE specification has to be developed each time. This is usually a copy-paste exercise for the human factors focal point or consultant; but the time it takes to complete uses up valuable budget and can delay human factors activities, sometimes to the point where the opportunity to influence the design is missed.
In an attempt to overcome this issue I have developed an HFE specification that is ready to use for any project. My suggestion is that this is made available to designers from day 1 of the project (concept phase). Reviews can take place so that any amendments required for local or client requirements can be introduced. Avoid adding too much detail because doing so leads to designers getting hung up on compliance and forgetting that their responsibility is actually to create an optimal design.
Feel free to download and use this specification wherever you think it would be useful. My intention of making this available is not to reduce the input from HFE consultants but to allow them to spend their time on more useful exercises that actually add value.
Here are some of my papers that you may find useful to support application of HFE in projects.