In the era of “smart” ships LR recognises the human element as more topical than ever
On 28 September Lloyd’s Register (LR) organised at its premises in Piraeus The Human Element & New Technologies on board event to provide insight on how to address the human element aspects for the many new technologies that are now being introduced, especially with regard to statutorily-required systems. Dr Jonathan Earthy, LR Human Factors Coordinator/ Engineering Systems, visiting Athens from the Group Technology Centre (GTC) in Southampton, was the main speaker of the event.
Dr Earthy encouraged the attendees to go beyond seeking more training as the only answer, and to think about the users’ point of view and the context of use of a “product” (equipment, software, new technologies etc.). He guided them through the processes that are necessary for an organisation to address the human element. One of the outcomes of the discussion was that a balanced approach is required to introducing new technologies. Factors such as the design, the operating procedures, maintenance and management of new systems, and how the aforementioned support the crew in using new technology, have to be addressed for the introduction and use of a system to be successful.
Furthermore, Dr Earthy inquired the meaning of a “useful acquisition”. He highlighted the need for the ship owner/ operator to ensure that systems that they buy are usable and pointed out how to identify and mitigate the risks associated with poor usability. He provided a worked example of the procedure to follow for Ballast Water Treatment System (BWTS).
With more than 40 attendees the event raised significant interest from key clients and industry stakeholders who actively participated in a fruitful discussion that emphasised the need for executive-level support and the engagement of all stakeholders.
Dr Earthy said “It is good to see such interest in this topic. LR considers human-system to be a key aspect in the introduction of new technologies, in particular those depending on information and communications technology. The attendance and the quality of the discussion indicate that the Greek shipping community share our views.”