Alert! 1 - Improving the awareness of the Human Element in the Maritime Industry


Wherever there is a human interacting with a system there is a Human Element issue. Modern technology has revolutionised the way in which a ship is operated, but lack of attention to the humansystem interface, in terms of the design, layout, and integration of systems, and training in their use, is the root cause of many accidents today.

The key to improvement is in the close involvement of all stakeholders to ensure that a ship is ‘fit for purpose’, and that the master and his crew are provided with the proper tools and are adequately trained to be able to conduct their business in a safe and efficient manner.

I welcome this initiative of The Nautical Institute, supported by Lloyd’s Register, which - through these quarterly editions of Alert! and the associated website - aims to create a common understanding amongst operational decision makers, both ashore and afloat, of what the Human Element is and how it can be applied in practice.

The maritime industry recognises that many accidents are the direct consequence of human failings and that in reality many of the others have a strong element of human involvement. We rely on people, working in an increasingly demanding, technically complex system. The industry cannot afford to simply accept that this situation is inevitable.

Lloyd's Register has carried out a structured programme of research and development work investigating the human element and has developed approaches that can assist in reducing the risks due to human factors. However, we recognise that we, from our standpoint of Classification, cannot solve this complex problem.

Lloyd's Register has a long tradition of providing support to safety initiatives, particularly in the marine industry. We have worked with The Nautical Institute on a number of projects and I was encouraged to receive their proposal for a project to improve the awareness of the human element. I believe that this awareness initiative is an important first step in a campaign to improve maritime safety.

I am delighted that Lloyd's Register has been able to provide funding for this initiative and I give it my full support.


Staff Author