The SHERPA Software

The SHERPA Software

Used by pharmaceutical manufacturers, medical device designers, process safety managers, and more...


A Fast, Easy Tool for Risk Reduction and Process Analysis

Optimise your organisation`s most critical tasks and reduce human error, with SHERPA Software (Systematic Human Error Reduction and Process Analysis). A world leading Human Factors software tool.

Not everyone can see the problem, but you know it’s there.

Your organisation spends large sums of money (and vast amounts of time and effort) to implement and maintain equipment, engineering controls, and technical risk assessments for hardware and software.

But what about the human side… are your people set up for success?

If people aren’t properly supported, then failures and accidents will happen -- no matter how rigorous your technical and engineering measures are.

To minimize risk and set everyone up for success, it makes sense to focus on human error reduction and process analysis so risks are managed long before they become a problem. And to prevent future accidents, you have to be able to investigate how normal practice could lead to an incident. You have to be able to see what others don`t, and you have to be able to turn that insight into actionable adjustments to work, training and procedures.

What you need is a tool that integrates and executes all of this for you, making it faster and simpler for you to solve problems, analyse root causes, and manage risks proactively.

Just think how much easier your work would be if you had access to software that:

  • Helps you plan important projects and processes thoroughly, leading to less downtime, more productive knowledge sharing, and improved safety.
  • Reduces the number of issues you have to deal with, by helping you improve product quality and process safety through proactive and reactive process analysis.
  • Creates, imports, or exports Standard Operating Procedures in minutes so that you can develop, analyse, and improve them as needed.
  • Empowers you to design optimal conditions and gain more control of the most critical tasks, improving both system and human performance.
  • Creates dynamic visualisations of critical risk rankings, task analyses, and more so that you can zoom in on the areas you want to evaluate and optimise.
  • Lets you avoid laborious manual processes and presents analysis outputs in real time, so you spend less time on task analysis and risk assessment -- without sacrificing the safety of workers, users, or patients.

The good news: this solution already exists.

The right software with the right combination of modules makes these tasks much easier and less time-consuming for you and your colleagues, by gathering everything you need in one place and giving you the big-picture view as well as the ability to dive deep into the details.

SHERPA software does all of this and more, with in-built intelligence and meaningful menus to walk you through each step of the analyses.

To learn a little more about how SHERPA does the heavy lifting for you, watch these short videos:

A video demonstration of the basic hierarchical task analysis editor in SHERPA

A video demonstration of more advanced functionality for risk assessments of processes and technology that can inform redesign

Click here to go to a technical paper that describes the functions available in the SHERPA in more detail.

With SHERPA , you see real-world results in terms of risks reduced, disasters avoided, time saved, and stress levels lowered. Longer term, your organisation will benefit from an enhanced reputation for excellence in health, quality, and safety.

Here`s what SHERPA can do for you...

The SHERPA software package integrates several different modules to help you stay on top of all the most critical tasks and improve human reliability.

1: Risk Ranking

This module lets you quickly evaluate the areas where human errors will have the most severe consequences.

  • Outputs a Risk Ranking Index based on the likelihood of error and the severity of consequences, helping you prioritise which tasks or subtasks to address first in your analysis.
  • The index can also include the likelihood of error recovery or consequence mitigation, allowing you to adjust your screening criteria as needed.
  • A graphical risk matrix allows the Risk Ranking Index to be applied directly to any box in the Hierarchical Task Analysis (see below) to save time and avoid duplicated effort.


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2: Hierarchical Task Analysis & Human Factors Risk Analysis

This module gives you all the tools for conducting the human factors risk assessments required by many regulatory authorities, including the COMAH Safety Cases required by the Health and Safety Executive in the UK.

  • Conducts a Hierarchical Task Analysis (HTA) to systematically document tasks.
  • Creates a graphical representation of the overall task goal, subtasks, and the steps within these subtasks, to the level of detail required for the application.
  • Creates a table for use as a starting-point for the development of risk aware procedures, training aids, and risk analyses.
  • Conducts Predictive Human Error Analysis (PHEA) by evaluating the steps in the HTA to help identify any possible failure modes.
  • Explores the consequences of errors and assists in documenting appropriate error prevention strategies.

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3: Performance Influencing Factors (PIF) Analysis

This module uses the potential failures identified by SHERPA to help you evaluate performance influencing factors that may affect the probability of human error.

  • Provides integrated PIF analyses based on human factors research for the error categories included in the tool.
  • Built-in categories of error include multiple types of action failures, communication failures, and checking failures.
  • Adding new factors or editing the existing factors is easy to do, allowing you to include context-specific PIFs that need to be considered in the analysis.
  • Insights gained from this module guide and enhance the development of effective error reduction strategies.

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4: Automatic Procedures Generation

This module automatically converts graphical task analyses developed within SHERPA into fully documented and professionally formatted procedures.

  • Turns HTAs into comprehensive, easy to understand procedures in a fraction of the time required using conventional methods.
  • Includes a built-in example procedures template for speed and ease of use.
  • Allows you to add photos or videos to your procedure documents with one click.
  • Custom procedures templates can be developed on request to match the standard formats you require.
  • Outputs procedure documentation in Microsoft Word, Excel, and/or PDF format, ready for you to save and distribute.

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5: Swimlane or Sequential Timed Event Plot (STEP) Diagramming

This module allows you to produce graphical representations of the sequence of events in any task, and who conducts which steps in the task.



  • Automatically generates swimlane diagrams from HTAs conducted with SHERPA .
  • Conducts Predictive Human Error Analysis (PHEA) allowing you to identify and reduce risks from human factors.
  • Reconstructs accident sequences for investigation, linking events to show how they led to the ultimate outcome.
  • Provides insight into the flow of a product (or a person) through a system such as a manufacturing plant or a hospital.
  • Allows you to map the sequence of a process from end to end to identify how different operations and tasks could fail.
  • Helps you identify hand over points, which are known to carry a high risk of failure.

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6: Human Error Prediction and Assessment (HEPA)

This module lets you swiftly quantify human error probabilities (HEPs) for a task and determine the probability of task failure.

  • Quantifies the HEPs for a number of steps or subtasks within a task, using the PIF analyses produced by the Human Factors Risk Assessment module.
  • Integrates analyses using Fault Tree logic to derive an overall probability of failure for the whole task.
  • Lets you investigate and explore the effects that changing the Performance Influencing Factors may have on reducing error probability.
  • Allows easy measurement of the impact on HEPs of any improvements you implement.


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7. Root Causes Analysis for Incident Investigation


This module enables you to analyse the direct and indirect organisational causes of errors as part of any incident investigations.

  • Analyses of the sequence of events in an incident, based on HTAs or swimlane diagrams for the tasks under investigation.
  • Supports identification of where in a process failures occurred, and what category of error led to each failure.
  • Helps you identify the typical causal factors for the specific error category or type of activity in question.
  • Evaluates the organisational factors and connections that may have contributed to creating the error-generating conditions.

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8. Options Evaluation

This module helps you to choose between the different possible strategies to minimise human error in a given scenario in the future.

  • Allows you to set up criteria, including importance weightings, for choosing between alternative intervention strategies.
  • Rates the intervention strategies according to your chosen criteria, giving you a ‘Preference Index’ for each strategy.
  • Lets you investigate how the order of preference changes when you adjust the criteria or importance weightings.
  • Supports many types of options evaluation and other decision-making exercises.

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SHERPA Costs and options

The greatest cost you could pay is the “cost of doing nothing.”

In fact, your organisation may be paying a high cost right now for ineffective processes, unknowingly setting people up to fail!

Without a way to ease the burden of human reliability work, your organisation will lose time, lose revenue, and ultimately lose its reputation. It could even lose lives.

But with SHERPA serving your organisation and teams, you gain time, effectiveness, and control. You make it easier for people to do what you want them to do.

The cost of SHERPA software depends on the modules you choose to enable, with cost reductions for multiple licences or modules purchased at the same time. Bona fide educational organisations may also be eligible for a discount. Book a call with us to get accurate pricing for your specific requirements.

We are happy to provide support packages incorporating software updates, bug fixes, and technical support via email. Support packages start at 20% of the purchase cost per year.

Please note that all purchases of SHERPA software within the European Union are subject to VAT at the current rate.

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Frequently Asked Questions (And Answers) About SHERPA

Where is the Human Factors Risk Manager (HFRM)?
We recently changed the name to the SHERPA Software as this rolls off the tongue more easily and connects back to its roots in David Embrey`s 1986 paper that outlined the start of this methodology and thinking around human reliability and human factors risk management.

Can I get a demo or download a trial version?

Yes! The downloadable demonstration version of the program is free of charge, but is limited to a maximum analysis of 250 boxes.

Can you train me to use it?

Of course, we’re happy to provide training and support in addition to your SHERPA software licence.

Can you do it for me?

Yes, we can put SHERPA in place for you and walk you step by step through using each module, supporting your investigative or proactive work.

What if others in my organisation don’t think this is worthwhile?

Show them a copy of what we call our “buy-in brochure” -- you can request it from us. This brochure lays out the commercial benefits, the safety benefits, and all the key facts about implementing SHERPA , to help you have an informed, effective conversation with anyone who might be holding back your progress.

What do the different modules and tools inside SHERPA do?

Among other things, with SHERPA you can:

  • Quickly evaluate the areas where human errors will have the most severe consequences, so you can prioritise analysis of those tasks.
  • Systematically document tasks to the level of detail you require, and conduct any human factors risk assessments necessary for regulatory compliance.
  • Conduct predictive human error analysis and evaluate performance-influencing factors, helping you to develop suitable error reduction strategies.
  • Generate fully documented and professionally formatted procedures and training aids in your choice of common file formats, ready to print or distribute.
  • Produce graphical representations of the sequence of events in any task, including swimlane diagrams and accident sequence reconstructions.
  • Quantify human error probabilities so you can explore the effects of performance influencing factors on the probability of human error and task failure, and predict the effectiveness of improvements on the process as a whole.
  • Carry out in-depth incident investigation and root causes analysis -- including direct and indirect organisational causes of errors -- for optimum learning and improvement.
  • Evaluate a range of intervention strategy options and determine which is the best according to your chosen criteria, then measure progress after implementation.

What if we have limited time to spend on this?

SHERPA makes risk assessment, analysis, and ongoing risk management tasks faster and easier to carry out. This is software, not magic, so it will take a small time commitment to get you up and running. But once you have it set up and your team knows how to use the software, you’ll see a return on your investment very quickly -- and you`ll save far more time than you invest in this solution.

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To start generating change and speed up the pace of progress, you need to take action sooner rather than later.

Talk to us today to find out how SHERPA can lighten your load.

P.S. We understand that important decisions need thoughtful consideration, and you may need to consult colleagues before taking the next step. For a useful summary of SHERPA ’s core capabilities and benefits, please request a brochure to share with your key stakeholders and decision-makers.

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