Building on 15 years of active participation in international human element initiatives, the Lloyd's Register Group has today launched a new service “ Human Element Gap Analysis (HEGA) “ which helps operators to discover the strengths and weaknesses in the way they manage the human element of their operations.

By highlighting shortfalls in people- and systems-related issues against best practice, the new service will help operators to identify areas where improvements could be made. It will also help them to develop an action plan for implementing changes.

At the core of the service is the Lloyd's Register Group's new publication, The Human Element: Best Practice for Ship Operators. This guide explains the scope and importance of the human element across 11 areas of shipping management and operations. It encourages continuous improvement by presenting four attainable levels of achievement, along with an assessment framework for measuring progress.

There is a limit to the improvements in maritime safety that can be made by attending only to ships hulls, machinery and essential systems,says Dr Jonathan Earthy, Principal Human Element Specialist, Lloyds Register. To ensure that further progress is made, the industry needs to focus on the way that ships are used and, specifically, the people who interact with them. We hope that the new service and the associated guide will help owners, operators and the maritime industry in general to improve its treatment of the human element in shipping.

One of the keys to successful management of the human element is recognizing that people are an integral part of the system that makes a ship safe and efficient, not simply a potential source of error,says Vaughan Pomeroy, Head of Research and Development, Lloyd's Register. However, the human element is a very broad and complex subject, and it is not always easy to identify the best targets for improving the way that it is managed. These new initiatives from the Lloyd's Register Group will help organizations to set realistic, achievable targets for increasing the contribution that their people make to safer and more effective shipping worldwide.

There are now numerous reasons for classification societies to begin addressing the human element more closely,he continues.The Lloyd's Register Group is fully committed to helping the industry to tackle this important issue.

HEGA is applicable to shipping operations of any size and, since it is not a class requirement, can be used by owners and operators of non-Lloyd's Register classed fleets. The Human Element: Best Practice for Ship Operators will form an integral part of any gap analysis carried out, and will be available from the Lloyd's Register Group webstore (