Human Element and Safety

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The human element plays a part in the majority of deaths and accidents at sea. It is a measure of people's ability to deal effectively and safely with the complexity, difficulty pressures and workload of their daily tasks, not only in emergency situations but also during routine operations. 

A range of tools has been developed to help advance the operational and safety performance of ships and shipping companies and improve the working lives of seafarers, primarily through non-regulatory activities. 

Our work involves: 

  • improving our understanding of normal and natural human behaviour, cognition, psychology, capabilities, needs, resilience etc. and matching these operational demands and requirements; and 
  • providing current practical effective advice and guidance to industry. 

We take a holistic view of the human element:

Our work involves: 

  • commissioning, supporting and participating in a range of research projects to better understand the interrelationship between people and their work. 
  • Developing tools and guidance to help shipping companies and seafarers improve their working practices and safety performance. 
  • Working with industry to identify stakeholders' needs. In particular leading the Human Element Advisory Group (HEAG) and the Human Element Development Group (HEDG). 
  • Leading development of the Human Element, Leadership and Management (HELM) training for UK certificated seafarers under the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW). 
  • Working with individual companies and other industries to develop ideas for best practice.