Home' Ships and Shipping : September 2009 Contents The LNG industry's excellent safety record is a result of several
factors of the technical and operational evolution of the
industry that ensure secure operations. Technical and
operational advances include everything from the engineering
that underlies LNG facilities to operational procedures to the
technical competency of personnel.
Additionally, the physical and chemical properties of LNG are
such that the hazards are well understood and incorporated into
technology and operations. Also, the standards, codes and
regulations that apply to the LNG industry further enhance safety.
Safety and good practice is even more important now as the
LNG industry enters a period of rapid expansion with new security
requirements, technological changes, the increased size of ships,
potential labour supply constraints and new companies entering
the business, let alone using ships to carry other low-temperature
liquefied gasses and the advent of CNG ships. They all present a
range of challenges to operational safety.
Integration of staff requires new management practices to be
adapted so that they identify and address human element issues
throughout the lifecycle of each ship and across the various parts
of the organisation. These changes must consider not only the
operation of the ship, but also its design and construction.
In following the human-centred approach, the Lloyd's Register
guide promotes continuous improvement towards a structure
enabling full consideration of the human element. Doing so will
avoid mismatch between user need and the task, by following
• Continuous improvement, learning from experience, trials
• Early, continuing, effective crew input;
• The matching of people and tasks to ships and systems;
• Teamwork and co-operation between stakeholders.
For high reliability organisations such as LNG operators, the
additional principle of mindfulness is important. This is typified by:
• Preoccupation with failure;
• Reluctance to simplify interpretations;
• Sensitivity to operations;
• Commitment to resilience;
• Deference to expertise.
There are many advantages to a human-centred process
improvement approach. Thorough and comprehensive
management of human element issues allows the operator to tailor
the evolution of their systems to be appropriate to the needs of the
A human-centred approach supports the development of a
safety culture, and encourages the crew to be treated as a powerful
means of "making safety" through acting as the organisation's
safety barrier -- rather than being seen simply as a source of error.
It also improves job satisfaction which leads to better staff
recruitment and retention, as well as encouraging safer
Because human element issues are associated with the vast
majority of accidents and incidents, being able to demonstrate that
this major source of risk is being addressed will be of interest to a
ship operator's clients, charterers and insurers. Taking a process
approach will enable operators to put into place a structured
recovery programme if they have had an incident where the
human element was identified as a major contributory factor.
Considering risks to the community and the environment, and
to workplace health and safety, also contributes to measures of
corporate social responsibility.
Putting best practice into practice
By producing a guide for ship operators in the management of
human element issues, Lloyds Register is providing a reference model
of best practice, which covers a range of operational and
management practice areas, as summarised below. Structuring the
best practice in this way allows operators to manage the human
element within their organisation in a systematic and balanced way.
Three areas address the company's practices at a corporate and
1. Management commitment to the human element;
2. Integrating the management and use of human element data;
3. Integrating the human element into concept and strategy.
Three further areas address what management does about
human-system issues on a daily basis:
4. Gathering and using crew input and feedback;
5. Integrating the human element into value for money decisions;
6. Integrating the human element into trade-off decisions and risk
Five areas address human-system issues in each stage in
7. Current operations, in-service ships;
8. Starting an operation;
9. Repair and modification;
10. Laying up or selling on;
11. Design and build
Two additional areas present best practice for technical
processes which are essential in underpinning a truly human-
• Human resources;
• Human-centred design.
Four levels of capability
The guide defines four levels of achievement in each area for an
operator's management of human element issues:
Reactive: the operator identifies the relevant issues reviews
them and plans what action to take.
Proactive: the operator seeks out these issues and acts upon the
Managed: the operator develops a managed programme of work
to consider the human element.
Optimised: the operator is able to make informed trade-offs
between topics such as manning, automation and operations.
The desired level for most sectors of the shipping industry is
proactive, but in the LNG sector the managed level is probably a
more appropriate target.
Interaction with other human element resources and services
The guide provides a basis for a Human Element Gap Analysis
(HEGA), the "health check" mentioned in the introduction.
This supports a continuous improvement cycle in
management of human element issues. HEGA discovers strengths
and weaknesses in the management of the human element,
highlighting shortfalls against best practice. It identifies areas
for improvement and prioritises them in an action plan.
Suggested improvements might take the form of training and
awareness raising, changes to procedures or changes to company
structure and communications. HEGA enables an operator not
only to establish its current performance, but also to consider its
In order to cater for all types of organisation, HEGA supports a
range of assessment approaches, from formal audit by a third party
to informal self-assessment.
For further information contact:
Lloyd's Register, UK. Web: www.lr.org
September 2009 SHIPS AND SHIPPING
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