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The human element in maritime operations

Our experts support a proactive approach to safety, considering the interaction of your people, technology and your organization.

New fuels, technologies, digitalization remote controlled and autonomous processes are changing the maritime business, organizations’ structures and how people work – introducing new safety challenges affecting crew and shore personnel.

In DNV, we use a holistic, integrated and systematic approach to address the human factor in design and operations. This includes appreciating and understanding the role of the operator in normal work as well as in safety-critical situations, and assessing how human performance is affected by the operating environment, including the organizational aspects. 

Safety in modern shipping is an inherent property of the system’s robustness, resilience, and ability to continually improve. Leveraging this potential requires a dynamic interaction between human, organizational and technical factors.

A typical narrative in the maritime industry is to explain accidents and unwanted events in light of human error. This is a linear and simplistic understanding of safety. We in DNV move away from this by acknowledging how system performance is tightly connected to features of the tools, tasks and the operating environment our people are exposed.

Our services include 

  • support in enhancing operator performance, 
  • building and maintaining a high-performing organizational culture, 
  • understanding root causes of incidents, and 
  • systematic accident investigation. 

Enhancing operator performance in existing or new work systems

Our experts have in-depth and cross-disciplinary experience in identifying what factors influence human performance. This may include analysing the task itself, the working environment or the organizational environment. 

In our work, we perform function and task analysis, workload analysis and Human Machine Interface (HMI) analysis, and review alarm systems. We support clients through alternative design processes, for example through use of remote operations. We also provide and develop training in accident risk understanding and regulatory requirements. 

The safety culture of the organization

On the organizational level, we can assess the organizational culture to advise and assist in cultural improvement programs, in addition to reviewing safety management systems. Assistance through organizational change processes, identification of skills needed and implementing training programmes can be provided. Recently, changes affecting crew and shore personnel due to decarbonization and digitalization have been in focus.

Accident investigation and organizational learning

Systematic learning from accidents and near misses are at the heart of any mature safety culture. Trust us as your independent and unbiased party to perform incident investigations. Our trained experts, along with industry best-practice investigation techniques, can help you understand root causes of incidents. 

Use DNV to gain a thorough overview of the human factor and improve safety on your vessels:

  • Tailor-made to address the factors that are relevant to your operation and needs
  • Access to our experts, who are closely involved with customers and projects
  • Building common expertise
  • Access to our extensive resource pool
  • Relevant subject matter experts across technical, managerial and regulatory levels