Human Factors at the Sharp End

Human Factors - Safety Investigation

Error is a human attribute and human error is a significant factor, consistently related to safety incidents, in the maritime domain. Yet, as pervasive and inevitable as human error is, it has been studied by specialists in many different fields. In fact, in many of these fields, the term “human error” is considered to be an incorrect term, and other terms such as “human liability” or “human failure” are used instead. Beyond differences in terminology and approach, the common link remains an interest in “how”, “why” and “when” human beings make “wrong” decisions or take actions that lead to unfavorable results. Human error, in various high risk industries, often has significant consequences and different types of approaches have been engineered to identify, prevent, or mitigate it. These ways of approach, in terms of Human Factors, will be well explained throughout this course.


The objective of this course is to introduce the participant to the concept of Human Factors in the maritime industry. Upon completion of the course, the participant should be able to define what the human factors are, identify relevant areas of application and appreciate the importance of the human element and the means by which professionals should approach safety in the maritime industry.

On completion of this course you will be able to:

  • Be conversant with the basic Human Factors concept
  • Understand key human performance issues relevant to maritime operations
  • Integrate Human Factors into key areas of the maritime environment
  • Apply the knowledge of operational Human Factors to safety investigation activities.
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