In September 2021, OCIMF released a new paper, entitled Human Factors Management and Self Assessment, providing a framework that integrates human factor into management systems.
he paper aims to help companies and leadership teams address the conditions and systems that influence human actions and decisions, and thus promote safety and excellence across all operations. In essence, the paper comes to provide guidance on how to implement a more targeted approach of ISGOTT chapter 7 related to Human Factors. Although both frameworks appear to have several similarities, the key difference is that OCIMF’s paper has a more managerial approach, while ISCOTT Ch.7 has a more operational approach.
Human Factor is an integral part of any organization’s strategy and a key enabler to further reduce safety, environment, security and health impacts within the maritime industry. That means that it has to be part of any management system, OCIMF explained. ‘’However, a Human Factors element cannot be implemented overnight – it takes time for companies to become familiar with the concepts and understand how to apply them practically.’’, commented OCIMF Managing Director Rob Drysdale.
In this new paper, several KPIs are introduced which have been developed under the same principles of TMSA3 – taking into consideration the four levels of TMSA and five human related categories – with the intension to be included in future editions of TMSA.
The four Levels of TMSA
- Level 1: Leadership commitments/ Framework to build capability/ Purpose, policy, roles/ Easier technical aspects
- Level 2: Beginning to implement plans / More complex technical aspects that would be helpful
- Level 3: Evaluating SMS / Measuring performance and improving /Increasingly systematic, reliable and sustainable
- Level 4: Self-sufficiency / Continuous improvement / Future proofing /Leading in industry
The 5 categories of human related KPIs
- Policy: the role of leadership in promoting a human factors approach.
- Capability: how the company builds its capacity to implement the policy.
- Design and execution: ensuring the appropriate tools, processes and training are in place.
- Skills: staff are trained to identify and respond in emerging situations
- Learning: both when things go well and from mistakes.
Key considerations with the implementation
Level 1 requires as an additional task to designate a new role, the ‘Human Factor Champion’ which focuses on the development of human factors and their integration into company activities. The Human Factor Champion should engage with leadership to explain human factor concepts and ensure they align with corporate values and culture. It is recommended this new role to be assigned to a Senior Manager as it requires experience both with Company’s operations and personnel handling and a Senior Manager, theoretically, is more familiar to discuss safety culture items related to human behavior.
Level 1 also requires the establishment of a policy related to human factors and commitment for its implementation. In that regard, discussions & dialogue are necessary and can be achieved through safety meetings/Tool box talks/Resilience programs etc. Also, roles and responsibilities should be defined in order to implement the human factor policy. Finally, a non-blame procedure, which is probably already part of the SMS, should be established, including investigation of causes related to human factors.
Level 2 requires an advanced communication and feedback status, surveys, safety reports and management visits. Actions taken by the Human Factor Champion and Shipboard management teams should involve discussions on human factor issues, Safety Critical Tasks Assessment (as defined in ISCOTT chapter 7), training and skills development and incident analysis feedback for training and improvement.
Level 3 requires more involvement from Senior shore-based managers, through leadership discussions and messages that support human factors and thus, the role of a Human Factor representative is vital in this level. Human factor representative acts as a liaison between crews and leadership ashore and may be nominated or elected. This person is responsible for regular on-board meetings to discuss human factors that contribute to safer working environments; engages regularly with onshore management and; provides feedback for improvement. Review of human factor addressing process is included in this stage and scenario-based exercises to assess the effectiveness of training for safety-critical activities should be used to support the review. Investigation findings go beyond human error, recommending changes to systems, equipment, task design while addressing leadership and organization issues should target improvement, avoiding blame culture.
High level review and feedback concludes Level 4 of the element. Front line personnel and top management should receive feedback and implement an action plan for further development and improvement. A more systematic learning on the development and analysis of human factor issues is required. Safety-critical tasks assessment should be used to support the day-to-day demands of operations. Competence assessments may be conducted by visiting personnel to verify STCW effectiveness. The feedback results may be used to further develop company’s procedures, support the investigations and enhance the incident investigators’ competence in human factor.
Concluding, it is unknown when the Human Factor Self Assessment will be incorporated in TMSA. However, as it is already part of the vetting procedure through ISGOTT implementation and OCIMF recent guides, companies should start immediately to perform key steps towards the development of human factor. In this context, several actions included in KPIs below can be implemented with the view to embrace a more advanced level for the investigation of human factor behavior and understand people’s interaction with equipment, process and other individuals or work teams.
14.1.1 The SMS contains a company policy on human factors along with a commitment that the company plans to implement this policy.
14.1.2 The SMS defines how the company encourages open dialogue between ship crews and shore management.
14.1.3 People are appointed to be responsible for understanding and implementing human factor policy
14.1.4 The SMS includes commitments to cultivate a non-blame culture and to learn how human factors contribute to incidents.
14.2.1 The human factors policy and the actions that flow from it are regularly communicated as central to the company’s overall mission.
14.2.2 The company gathers information from the frontline and provides structured feedback on systems, conditions and tasks.
14.2.3 Human factor champions are visible, conveying information and seeking input to actions related to human factors.
Design & Execution
14.2.4 The company provides personnel on ships with methods, tools and training to assess conditions that shape human performance in safety-critical tasks.
14.2.5 The company provides human factors training for personnel in safety-critical roles, so they are able to respond effectively in challenging situations.
14.2.6 Investigation and learning processes incorporate training and tools that enhance incident investigators’ understanding of human factors.
14.3.1 Rather than looking to blame, leaders commit to learn through feedback on systems, conditions and tasks.
14.3.2 The company regularly asks frontline personnel to review levels of satisfaction and trust in leadership among fleet staff.
14.3.3 Senior shore-based managers demonstrate their understanding of human factors and engage in implementing actions covered by the human factor policy.
Design & Execution
14.3.4 Designated onshore managers and ship management teams regularly review the performance of safety-critical tasks.
14.3.5 The company uses scenario-based exercises to assesses the effectiveness of training for safety-critical activities.
14.3.6 Investigations are carried out with the purpose of understanding the context of actions and decisions. They avoid attributing blame, and recommend improvements to equipment, tasks, organisation and skills that are helpful to users.
14.4.1 Leaders examine how their intent and communications are received by shore-based and ship personnel, and review messaging and approach accordingly.
14.4.2 The management reviews satisfaction and trust results from surveys to develop action plans and provide feedback, as needed.
14.4.3 The company builds an internal human factor capability and updates its human factor policy by advocating and participating in industry forums.
Design & Execution
14.4.4 Safety-critical tasks are identified across the fleet and assessed against the potential for error and performance-shaping factors.
14.4.5 The company verifies that training and exercises have given personnel the necessary skills to respond to emerging situations
14.4.6 The company builds incident investigators’ competence in human factors, and demonstrates the independence of investigators’ recommendations from company management.