What is the Human Factor?

People are our most important resource. Apart from their technical and professional skills their ability to assess, decide and react are even more important. These capabilities will best thrive in a sound culture where people are appreciated, know they can speak up, reflect and react to the diversity of situations they encounter every day.

How we define Human Factors

“Human factors refer to environmental, organisational, technological, task design and human and individual characteristics which influence behaviour at work in a way which can affect health and safety.”

Rather than looking at human error and what we did wrong, we need to look at the human factor as a potential for improving our (safety) performance. People know the most about their work and are therefore the key to any solution.

Humans drive and decide performance, therefore we must manage people related situations and promote a culture where we act before anything goes wrong.

What are the challenges we face in our industry?

In the maritime industry we are brought up with compliance management and following procedures. Taking human factors into consideration we have to find new ways to make it an integrated part of our daily management, our leadership styles and our overall company culture.

How can we help you

– how can we work together on assessing and developing the human element understanding?

The art of managing factors that are influencing human performance is what Green-Jakobsen help our clients develop and improve. Let us help you make a structure for the Human Factor Management on the basis of the three perspectives: Review, Follow-up and Development. Our knowledge can be your force in the development you are about to embark in your organisation, department or on board.

The organisational and individual structures we will look at comprise: company culture (management) – the human factor understanding must permeate all levels of the organisation; leadership development as an important element in a sound and resilient (safety) culture; appraisal systems and optimisation to ensure appropriate development of staff and crews; safety management and culture – including the ability to handle critical tasks. The Safety Delta concept can serve as an overarching concept that embraces the majority of issues under the five pillars.

We believe in humans as a resource but we also believe that any resource will be decided by the way we approach it. The factors that are influencing human behaviour and performance are important to understand and manage and the starting point is to discuss how we, as an organisation, help humans make strong human factor judgements.

 

The OCIMF Human Factors Management and Self Assessment guidelines

The OCIMF guidelines which are expected to become the new TMSA Chapter 14 points at five areas to focus on.

1) The role of leadership in defining the culture

2) Well-executed tasks and procedures

3) Well-designed equipment and controls

4) Skills to respond to emerging situations

5) Learning before and after things go wrong

The future KPIs to be defined under these areas will require a comprehensive and structured capacity building effort both on organisational and individual levels.

 

Examples of resourceful, decisive human factors:

Having the ability to

  • establish an atmosphere for open communication
  • demonstrate respect for others and their differences
  • share expertise with others
  • keep calm in conflicts
  • give clear and concise briefings
  • actively seek and act upon feedback
  • implement new ideas and better ways
  • respond positively to change
  • persist in the face of difficulty
  • prioritise the most important tasks
  • acknowledge and correct mistakes
  • support others to have a level of independence in how to do the work
  • encourage crew to members to review, raise concerns or challenge plans of actions
  • improve the team’s work and vessel operations
  • set achievable goals
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