Alert! 31 - Human Resources

Through the last 3 series’ of Alert! bulletins, we have focussed on the various issues that can influence the interaction between a person and any other person, system or machine aboard ship. We have examined the causes and effects of, and offered some solutions for, mitigating fatigue.

We have stressed the importance of effective communication; and we have explained how to avoid complacency. We have argued that careful thought at the design stage can head off slips, trips and falls before they happen.

We have pointed out that seafarers have a right to enjoy a safe and secure working environment, decent working and living conditions, fair terms of employment, health protection, medical care, family support and contact with home. We have emphasised the importance of training, experience, skills and competence.

We have cautioned against too many disparate information management systems being detrimental to the safe conduct of the ship and the safe and timely delivery of its cargo. We have also highlighted the knowledge, skills and attributes required of the various maritime stakeholder groups, with a view to developing a set of human element competencies.

Next, we offer some human element solutions, drawing on the key domains of Human Resources (HR) and Human Factors Engineering (HFE) previously featured in Alert!, Issue No. 11.

The theme of this Issue of Alert! is Human Resources – fitting the correct peg into the correct hole. The case study described on Page 1 demonstrates how accidents can occur if you don’t have the right number nor the correct mix of people with the necessary competencies and familiarity with the ship to be able to do the job.

There are some who question whether the term ‘Human Element’ is appropriate because it implies that the human is simply a constituent part of a ‘system’. The IMO describes the Human Element as: ‘A complex multi-dimensional issue that affects maritime safety, security and marine environmental protection which involves the entire spectrum of human activities performed by ships’ crews, shore-based management, regulatory bodies, recognized organizations, shipyards, legislators, and other relevant parties.’

Put simply, it is about People, and their interaction with other people, systems and machines.

Download the full Alert! Issue 31 below.


Staff Author