It is difficult to have a Safety Culture and an effective Safety Learning Culture when it is believed that only seafarers make mistakes of any consequence. Inevitably, there will be a tendency to blame those who make mistakes, and replace people when things go wrong, rather than fixing the underlying problem. This is the opposite of Safety Learning.
U-funded SAFEMODE project suggests that reversing the ‘Swiss Cheese model’ is a challenge, and requires the mindset that human error does not only affect those aboard ships, but affects us all. This shift in mindset is a journey that any industry has to undertake if it is serious about increasing safetyhe E
7 key tips for enhanced shipping safety
- Look at human error with a telescope not a microscope
- Consider the more distant factors ashore
- Learn deeper & focus on safety lessons
- Identify organisational safety vulnerabilities
- Consider Safety Culture or climate surveys
- Analyse events and incidents/accidents using a taxonomy
- Deep Dives and focus groups with management and seafarers, can also help
By recognizing that human error is a systemic issue rather than an individual one, industries can implement proactive measures to prevent accidents and improve safety standards. This involves fostering a culture of accountability, promoting open communication, and investing in training and technology to minimize the potential for errors across the board.
In conclusion, reversing the ‘Swiss Cheese model of accidents, where multiple failures align to create a catastrophic event, requires a collective effort from all stakeholders involved. It requires a shift from blaming individuals to understanding the underlying factors that contribute to errors and addressing them systematically. This shift in mindset not only enhances safety but also creates a more resilient and reliable industry overall.