Optimising the ‘human element’

Prevention at Sea to host INTERCARGO-supported webinar on optimising the ‘human element’ in the maritime industry


In recent years the shipping industry has started to recognise the importance of the human element. However, despite the adoption of multiple industry initiatives, rules and procedures, conventional audit results analysed by Prevention at Sea and the Centre of Excellence in Risk and Decision Sciences of the European University in Cyprus (CERIDES) show that the early warning signals of unsafe practices are not being detected.

Records prove that more than 70% of accidents affecting maritime safety are attributed to wrong judgement, lack of use of common sense and critical thinking, miscommunication, and lack of shipping knowledge. All summarised under the term ‘human element’ failure.

The numerous audits and inspections carried out on board ships, or ashore every year, prove through records that incidents affecting smooth operations resulting in severe consequences frequently occur and/or can be attributed to the ‘human element’; if those incidents are added to the aforementioned 70% then the said percentage approaches a level of 85-90%. Therefore, it is evident that a critical aspect which triggers the aforesaid consequences has been underestimated or has not been sufficiently addressed so far.

As the industry evolves, stakeholders are recognising the need to recentre around the human element and increase proactivity in nurturing a safe business culture. To enhance the human element, safety in the shipping industry needs to move away from the current ‘tick box’ culture, with greater emphasis placed on a proactive approach which puts people at the centre.

With the aim of detecting inefficient operational practices at an early stage before they can escalate into major incidents, the Human ELement Maritime Enhancement Tool (H.EL.M.E.T.) developed by Prevention at Sea, represents a simple, practical, and effective methodology for risk assessment that can prevent safety incidents before they occur.

H.EL.M.E.T. incorporates the development and conduction of assessments aimed towards the combined evaluation of the condition and the identification of potential human-born failures targeting the optimisation of the human element in the maritime industry.

The use of this tool is supported by the H.EL.M.E.T. Committee, a group of well-respected industry stakeholders, who hold the joint ambition to ultimately re-establish a genuine, industry-wide commitment to a ‘safe business culture’.

WHAT: 1-hour webinar ‘H.EL.M.E.T. – Human ELement Maritime Enhancement Tool Webinar’
WHEN: Thursday January 28, 2021 at 11.00 GMT


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