A lot of human factors and ergonomics recommendations exist and ought to be applied in ship design process. However, there is often a distance between the designers, the regulators and the operators perspectives. The main questions of this report are to evaluate if current guides and recommendations, if followed, would really fulfil operator’s needs and discuss how existing guides and recommendation are applied in a ship-design process.

The plan for this deliverable was to assess the usability of HCD guidelines. The task completed an audit of rules and international or national regulations and guidelines on maritime workspaces from the Human Factors perspective.

The work consisted first in a literature review of relevant Human Factor areas, especially ergonomics (Human Machine Interface or HMI), Occupational Health and Safety and current state of the art in the maritime industry as well as other relevant industries.

In order to verify that the existing literature matches the actual need on board, experts in operations observations were used. Information was collected through interviews with BV employees (in offices and in the field), visit in ships’ engine rooms and machinery spaces and interview of captains and other seafarers. Additional sources were also used to complete these observations.

Afterwards, this report examines the correspondence between the issues raised and the existing recommendations regarding familiarity, occupational health, ergonomics and risk issues.

Two aspects can be derived from this analysis:

a) One of the most important outputs from the user-feedback is that existing prescriptive guidelines and rules address a large part of the real observed HCD problems in machinery spaces. Part of the rules are functional requirements (with high level requirement without specifying how to meet it, e.g. words as “suitably”, “adequately” “easy access” etc). Some are more specific.

b) The remainder of the user feed-back items were not directly addressed by rules and should be better analysed, possibly using HCD. These are for example specific alarm processes, handling of heavy equipment or parts, clearance and access.

The first aspect a) questions the effectiveness of the application of the existing recommendations. There are different factors that could explain this:

  • Non usable recommendations/guidelines:
    • Prescriptive requirements are either too high level (functional requirements) or too specific (to be used at early stage)
    • Many guidelines and recommendation exist, but they may be poorly known, used and understood by designers
    • HCD studies are too long and costly to be fully applied at design stage, while commercial pressure and shorter delivery times is often the governing decision parameter for the owner
    • According to interviews, most of the time the human element issues are detected after construction, when the ship is either visited (construction or 1st sea trial), used (first years of ship life), and maintained.
  • In reality, enhancement of the design is rather performed after building
    • Some of the design issues can be modified on-board during ship life (typically location of valves, ladders/steps for better access/visibility). But addressing many issues may not be feasible.
    • Sister ships can and should benefit from the first prototypes errors.
    • To progress from this situation, one Captain interviewed suggested tests for lifting and transporting heavy parts to be performed at delivery, with lifting capacity to be checked as well as space to transport the element. This is typical from HCD analyses see next section.
  • Verification of application of the existing recommendations:
    • Verification of the degree and compliance of an HCD at early design stage with the sole availability of layout/drawings appears to be much more complex and difficult than usual class work about naval architecture.
    • Except on main safety issues (for example Alarms), many of the human element related recommendations are not mandatory recommendations.
  • Application of the existing recommendations
    • Application of HCD guidelines is rather a choice/ a conviction of the owner, and sometimes of the Authorities.
    • There are too few incentives for applying the existing recommendations or HCD guidelines and recommendations.

This report therefore highlights:

  • The need for actual application of existing recommendations
  • The need for practical design tools to direct the owner/designer/class on specific recommendations (Cyclades Framework).
  • Promote generic HCD analysis performed by experts groups to provide generic analyses (see task analysis in section 5 ) or pre-analysed equipment, or arrangements.
  • The need for earlier detection of HCD errors and enhancement at design stage and on prototypes.
  • A verification scheme to check that the design actually reaches ergonomic or HCD functional requirements.
  • Consider improvement of the design towards Human Element in as built conditions and not only at design stage.
  • Train/publicise the existing guidelines/recommendations to class, designer and owner.
  • Work on incentives for more HCD analysis at design stage (class/designer/owner).

According to a) and b), a combination of use of existing recommendations and dedicated HCD analysis is therefore suggested. In that sense any specific HC design analysis should make reference as much as possible to these existing recommendations. This should be done in the general HCD analysis process. However, specific design features as well as new equipment or operations could be considered using more performance based technics, although they also include feasibility drawbacks.