Ergonomic design requirements in Classification Rules and Regulations is a priority
One way for the human element to make an impact on a large scale is
through the inclusion of ergonomic design requirements in Classification Rules and Regulations. Class provides a means, with corresponding verification, to make far-reaching ergonomic improvements, benefiting a large number of seafarers. A consideration of ergonomics in ship design will help to enhance operational safety, reduce the risk of error and improve efficiencies and situational awareness.
A key part of the Lloyd's Register strategy for the human element is to improve the way it is addressed in its core Rules. This is a challenging activity and one which has no quick win solution. There are a wide variety of hurdles that need to be overcome during the rule development process. However, progress is being made, and this year sees the first major ergonomics input to the Rules, addressing ergonomics at control stations and in the presentation of alarms.
However, having well written, verifiable ergonomic Rule requirements addresses only one part of the Lloyd's Register strategy. The verification ofany ergonomic requirements in the Rules will be undertaken by surveyors. Therefore, any attempt to address the human element in the Rules requires that the competence of surveyors is increased at the same time as the Rules are revised.
Unfortunately, knowledge and awareness of the human element is often poor
or indeed absent among surveyors. Surveyors are trained to make decisions
about engineering not human behaviour. They generally receive no more than basic training in matters such as Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) or work system design. Hence, raising awareness of the subject is an essential first step if the benefits of improved design are to be realised. The need to have a human element competency framework for surveyors is now recognised as being as important as having a Rules development strategy in this area.
Following an analysis of the knowledge, skills and attitudes required for a baseline human element competency, a suitable training delivery programme has been proposed. In the first instance, a human element e-learning course with online assessment will be developed to raise awareness. This course will be fairly basic in scope, as it needs to lay the foundations of education in this subject. The intention is for the course to be rolled out in early 2012 and for it to be completed by all marine surveyors. Successful completion of the training and its assessment will become the means to assess surveyor competency in the human element.
The success of the training course will be measured by our training feedback process and by the number of enquiries received from surveyors. We do not expect surveyors to make expertise-based human element decisions, but we do hope that they will be able to recognise human element issues and will seek assistance from a human element specialist when required.
As the Rules develop in the different engineering areas, specific training will be developed. These training courses will then become part of the competency schemes within the specialised domains.
Senior Human Element Specialist at Lloyd's Register
Article was initially published at Alert! - The International Maritime Human Element Bulletin, and reproduced with permission.