Alert 9 - Operations - It is time to stop pretending... Welcome to this issue of Alert, the forum for discussing a whole range of human element issues in the maritime industry. What are the absolutely key issues? The need for ship owners and operators to recognize the needs of the end user, the seafarer, during the design and build stages... Treat this video as the supplement training to the booklet addressing the same topic.

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If you have visited us before, you would know that Alert focuses on the human element in the maritime industry. In this program we are going to consider three of the most important human element issues, namely education, training and career development. When it comes to the recruitment and training of seafarers, ship operators should adopt best industry standards and ensure that seafarers receive the training they need to carry out their duties.

They must also be regularly updated, tested and drilled through various programs. The people involved in the front line of the shipping operations ashore must also be properly trained, adequately experienced, skilled and competent. But then so must be the tutors - it is essential that maritime college lecturers are properly qualified to teach the competencies for which they are employed to teach. They need to have the up-to-date understanding of the new technologies aboard ships and, of course, knowledge of the modern day ship operations. One of the problems today is that a gap sometimes exists between available skill levels and what the ship industry requires from the seafarers, which is why there is a need for the company to step in the training.

Shore-based company training can be provided at in-house institutes and during annual seminars. On-job training can be conducted by auditing and training superintendents who can then ensure that any shore comments can be rectified through education and training. This video supplements the corresponding Alert Issue 20.

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Issue 5 of the Human Element bulletin contains the updates on such important matters as building the shipping company culture, a total quality lifecycle, investing in quality as investing in people, consolidating international standards of the maritime labor, corporate social responsibility in the today's maritime industry, PSC reports, sustainability reporting in the shipping sector, etc. We often define the term "quality" in the context of the customer-supplier relationship as a measurement of how a products or offered services meet or exceed customer's expectations. But, the quality of management in ship operations impacts on the way in which the master and his crew conduct their business.

Not all ship operators aspire to the highest levels of quality. Port State Control reports record that some shipowners are failing to comply with international conventions, such that the condition of the ship or the quality of its crew falls below the required standard. There are some companies whose focus is on profit - at the expense of quality and of a safety culture. Their compliance with regulations aspires only to the acceptable, particularly in respect of crew working and living conditions, safety of life at sea and accident prevention. Better if used together with this short video film addressing same topics.

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The twenty-fourth issue of Alert human element bulletin. The good design of the vessel performed bearing in mind the human element is considered critically important for the safe and also efficient operation of any vessel together with the systems, as well as to the health and safety of the crew members and their wellbeing.

The naval architects and designers of the shipboard systems shall be in close touch with the professionals working and living aboard vessels. They shall also have the understanding of the fact that nowadays the vessels are operating with the crews consisting of males and females, and people representing different nationalities, cultures and looking different - it actually means that the ship design features may be considered good for one group of crew members but will not necessarily be highly appreciated by others.

The designers shall also be able to perform the proper identification and provide clear descriptions of the social and physical concepts in which the products and systems they design is expected to be used, noting the nature of the work to be carried out and implications of the design they work on, for the crew members. They must have a clear and thorough understanding of the main principles of the HCD, standing for the human-centered design, addressed in the seventh issue of our bulletin...

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Sorry, I am a bit depressed... I mean our industry, it is all doom and gloom, isn't it?.. Every time you pick up the paper, there is a story about the collision, an oil spill somewhere, pirates... You turn on TV and it seems that every day our seafarers are arrested and thrown into jail. You see what I mean? We could take a different view. The fact is shipping is responsible for over ninety percent of the world's trade.

It's a high-tech industry that opens huge opportunities. Yes, it has its problems, but in this issue of Alert let's go positive. There are some who criticize the state of shipping and life at sea today. We hear comments about over-regulation, too much paperwork and huge number of inspections, and so many other problems in the shipping industry.

And that is quite disappointing - because it is not as if young people do not want to go to sea, but clearly there are some concerns. One survey reveals that, although increasing workloads and paperwork, fatigue and criminalization are viewed as potential career killers, the modern seafarer is looking for greater contact with families and friends, above everything else.

Telephone access, in particular, would seem to be crucial. Voyage length and shore leave are also the factors that are very significant to the seafarers today... This video film supplements the corresponding issue of Alert 19 bulletin.

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If you are a regular reader of the Alert bulletins, you know that the information management is a subject we have visited many times before. When you consider the importance of the human element in safe running of ships communication between all stakeholders is crucial, and that requires management. And of course there is the human element in every information management system.

But have you ever wondered why you are asked to provide certain pieces of information and what is being done to it once you provide it? And what is the information management system, anyway? Well, information management is about the storage, processing, transmission and input/output of information. Putting it simply, that means making sure that information is presented and prepared at the right time to the right person and in a form that is immediately understood and relevant to the situation at hand. Seafarers, especially the Master and senior officers, have to deal with a lot of the paper-based logs and reporting forms.

These not only add to their work load but can also present opportunity to cause the error. Many shipping companies still rely on the handwritten logs. And this is an area where the technology can be put to good use - the electronic monitoring and reporting, for example... This video will supplement the 21st issue of the Alert bulletin.

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Alert Human Element - Issue 13, addressing the Fatigue and released under the motto "Time to wake up to the consequences of fatigue". Many accident investigation report nowadays will have fatigue stated as one of the main causes, such as the collision, or grounding, for instance, that have been easily caused by lack of attention by fatigued ship officer, his lack of sleep or excessive workload on top of his regular watchkeeping duties...

But minimum manning and watchkeeping patterns are not the only causes of fatigue. There is a whole variety of environmental or operational, physiological or psychological factors that could, in some way, affect not only health but also the performance of every person on board. The IMO Guidelines on Fatigue Mitigation and Management provide various practical ways of combating the fatigue - we would say that this is the essential reading for all those people involved in the design, construction, management and operation of ships.

And something else that should be seriously considered, is the USCG's Crew Endurance Management Program which identifies the factors that are affecting the crew's endurance and specific risks directly related to the operations of the vessel; and, there is a lot of another important work going on...This video supplements the Human Element bulletin on the same topic.

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Well, we do not know actually who suggested that a life on the Ocean Wave was easy but that was not a full picture. It is quite tough, there are maintenance schedules to stick to, and there is pressure absolutely everywhere, and that is when accidents can happen. But you know the most common types of accidents on board - people slipping, tripping and falling.

And we are going to be talking a lot about that in this issue of Alert. But it is not surprising that slips, trips and falls are the leading causes of accidents on board. Let us just think about the environment for a moment. There is bad weather, for a start, and you know what that means - lots of pitching and rolling. Then we have got wet and slippery deck surfaces, oil, grease, poor lighting, high masts, funnels, bulkheads, moving objects - these are all hazards that may cause slips, trips and falls, some of them being serious, and even fatal.

Of course, it is easy enough to blame all these accidents to the human error, such as not following proper procedures or poor housekeeping, or not following the simple rule - one hand for a ship and one for yourself... This video is to supplement the associated booklet that addresses the same important topic.

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