Often incidents are attributed to human involvement. This gives the impression that people cause incidents. ‘’Most mistakes, actions and decisions are themselves the result of the way the workplace is set up, how work is designed, equipment and control measures, and how leaders influence the culture in an organization’’, OCIMF says.
In that regard, last October, the organization issued an informative paper focusing on the human factor to explain how it will integrate human factors into its activities by following eight key principles and contribute to reducing marine risk.
As explained, OCIMF’s approach aims to reduce risk to crew, ships and terminals by systemically addressing the systems and latent conditions that influence errors, actions and decisions.
Human Factor vs Human Element 1-0
Human Factors is the term used in the oil, gas, nuclear, aviation, space and military sectors, recognizing that the human error is not simply a feature of individual failure, but is caused by workplace factors, equipment, and task design, among others. OCIMF identifies eight key principles concerning human factors and actions to understand how associated issues impact ship operations.
Although many discussions have taken place to enhance maritime safety, we continue to see, that many such incidents are caused by ‘the human element’; this is the number one factor that shipping industry attributes to the majority of the incidents. To this end, many stakeholders have highlighted the importance of not putting the blame on a specific person for an incident but try to see why the accident in particular occurred and why the system allowed it to happen.
In order to improve safety it is essential to not just point fingers but improve the system that allowed the accident in the first place. It is not the system that is safe, it is the people in the system that make it safe, the Swedish Club has pinpointed. It is the people onboard who make safety work. However human errors still occur in interaction with condition, systems and other peoples, OCIMF notes. For example, in many cases individuals made serious misjudgments in situations or there were communication problems.
In 2016, UK MCA issued ‘’the Deadly Dozen’’ which analyzes twelve of the most common people related factors along with tips and learning points which, if managed effectively, have the potential to avoid and avert accidents, and make a dramatic improvement to maritime safety.
Human element is a term used by the IMO and recognized in many parts of the maritime industry. When it emerged, it was initially focused on changing the person to reduce human error, tackling training, competence, motivation etc. Although the term has expanded into the underlying systems, human element may not be recognized outside the maritime industry.
Therefore, OCIMF supports that the human factor is the correct term to be adopted because it is most recognized, giving the maritime world access to knowledge, resources, tools and advice from multiple industries and companies. Also, ‘human factor’ term addresses all individual, system and organizational issues; it is best supported by bodies that provide human-centred disciplines and; it is consistent and goes beyond IMO requirements linked with the human element.
8 key principals on Human Factors
The following principals describe OCIMF approach to human factors and are based on those from oil and gas, aviation and nuclear industries.
#1 People make mistakes
#2 People’s actions are rarely malicious and usually make sense to them at the time
#3 Mistakes are typically due to conditions and systems that make work difficult
#4 Understanding the conditions in which mistakes happen helps us prevent or correct them
#5 People know the most about their work and are key to any solution
#6 Plan, tools and activities can be designed to reduce mistakes and manage risk better
#7 Leaders contribute in shaping conditions that influence what people do
#8 It matters how leaders respond when things go wrong and take opportunity to learn
Leave a Reply