New methodologies developed to address “human error” factor

With human error seen as the primary cause of 80% of maritime accidents, Dr Rabiul Islam, a researcher from the University of Tasmania’s Australian Maritime College, has developed new methodologies to address the issue. The tools developed include a monograph that were said to estimate accurately the likelihood of human error during routine maintenance. 

The research noted that most onboard maintenance was conducted under challenging working conditions, involving complicated equipment. Along with these challenges, poor communication, inadequate system monitoring and failure to learn from previous maintenance errors could all contribute to human error.

The research found that the probability of human error could be estimated based on the level of seafarers training, experience and fatigue. In order to estimate a Human Error Probability value, the level of a seafarers training was ranked from 1 to 9; fatigue level and experience with undertaking the task were also ranked. The three rankings were then used to obtain the value from a graph derived from Islam’s research.

Islam said that the tool would help a chief engineer or captain quickly to estimate the chance of human error, adding that “they could also be used as guidance for shipowners, operators, masters and classification societies to better prepare, prioritize and sort the maintenance activities for safe and reliable onboard maintenance operations to reduce the potential of accident occurrence.”

Islam’s research project was highly commended for the Australian Maritime College’s 2017 Rob Lewis medal for excellence in postgraduate research.