Managing Ergonomics in Maritime Transport System Managing Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Managing Ergonomics in Maritime Transport System

Managing Ergonomics In The Maritime Transport System (bridge System)

Ergonomics is a discipline that deals with the study of human roles in smooth and efficient activities of complex industrial systems and the application of ergonomic knowledge in the design of industrial systems and equipments (Salvendy, 2012). The role played by human beings and ergonomics in maritime safety is highly valued by the maritime community.

Ergonomics refer to the discipline of interactions between human beings and the elements of a system aimed at optimizing human well being and improving the performance of the system in general (Salvendy, 2012). Practitioners of ergonomics try to analyze the surroundings, jobs, goods and the system in order to make them suit the needs, abilities and the shortcomings of human beings.

Human factor is the physical property or social behavior that belongs to an individual that is capable of influencing the working of technological systems (Salvendy, 2012). The term human factor and ergonomics are mutually related. Human factors practitioners are mostly psychologists and physiologists. Other contributors may also include designers and computer scientists (Osterman, 2010). Normally a typical ergonomist will have an undergraduate degree in engineering, psychology, health sciences and design or else an ergonomist may also have a master degree in a related discipline. With all this human practitioners in the field of ergonomics then this can only show how crucial human factor is in the field of ergonomics (Salvendy, 2012).

Human element can make a whopping impact on a large scale in ergonomics this is by making far-reaching ergonomics improvements, which will benefit a large number of seafarers (Salvendy, 2012). A consideration of the human element in designing of ships by the maritime community will improve operational safety, lower the risk of error and above all enhance the efficiency and situational awareness.

IMO Guidelines

IMO guidelines are part of enhancing safety at sea. Compliance with the IMO guidelines will provide a suitable working environment for all crewmembers (Osterman, 2010). Maritime systems provide overpass systems and equipments to naval programs to enable carry out their operations efficiently and effectively. These guidelines provide a comprehensive solution to bridge appearance design and ergonomic appearance of equipment to enhance safety, and efficient operation of the vessel.

IMO guidelines also provide a whole mockup of the entire bridge spaces to permit an ergonomic assessment of the design before manufacturing (Osterman, 2010). These guidelines also provide mechanisms of designing bridges so that they can comply with international standards. IMO guidelines are, therefore, a crucial aspect that must be followed in outlining the layout of both bridges and equipments (Osterman, 2010).

Principles of Ergonomics

There are several principles regarding human interface design that are suitable to the design and application of navigation bridges (Ergonomic Design of Navigation Bridges, 2003). Taking this into consideration, these principles become applicable in the design of controls, displays and workspace for people on watch duty for the purpose of conducting and monitoring operations and respond to operational conditions and ambient. Application of these principles to the design of a bridge can result to work environments and interfaces which simplify bridge and reduce human error. In addition, they can also reduce the physical demands imposed on people on watch duty as well as other bridge personnel. The following are the principles:

Define the Roles and Responsibilities of Bridge Personal

For any given activity in bridge design, there is a need for defining the relative roles as well as duties of humans and hardware or software. Roles and responsibilities always vary depending on various factors including vessel trade, level of vessel automation and objectives and responses of the owner or operator. Irrespective of the specific contexts, there should be a clear definition of roles as well as responsibilities of the bridge personnel (Ergonomic Design of Navigation Bridges, 2003).

Design for Human Limitations, Capabilities and Expectations

The aim of a bridge design is to utilize the available capabilities as well as limitations of humans together with machines (Ergonomic Design of Navigation Bridges, 2003). This implies that human in the bridge design should involve themselves in management of the vessel and planning of various activities. In addition, the humans should take the responsibility of communicating those activities and plans to the machines which perform the work. Humans should also consider monitoring machines and intervene appropriately in case there is no following of the set plans.

Arrange Bridge Services and Controls to Maximize Access

On this, the bridge design should consider grouping of various components for the purpose of minimizing bridge traffic. It should arrange the components of the bridge in order to minimize the need for the people on watch duty to consider alternative positions on the bridge. The bridge personnel should also consider arranging displays by task association, centralizing vital information, optimizing arrangements and grouping information to support operations (Ergonomic Design of Navigation Bridges, 2003).

Design Displays Consistent With Task Requirements

Designing displays that are consistent with the requirements of the tasks involves provision of external as well as internal consistency, and provision of situation awareness indicators to maintain a summary check on the entire system (Ergonomic Design of Navigation Bridges, 2003). It also involve the following; basing display design on information requirement, providing accurate and precise information, limiting display complexity, displaying actual equipment status, grouping information to support the performance of the tasks, prioritizing audible indicators and alarms, avoiding nuisance alarms, acknowledging alarms and avoiding alarm ambiguity.

Design Simple Direct and Easy To Use Inputs and Controls

This principle involves providing direct human control for the purpose of ensuring that the human controls the pace control through explicit actions (Ergonomic Design of Navigation Bridges, 2003). This principle also emphasizes that the bridge personnel should; identify control measures clearly, indicate and annunciate operating mode changes, provide appropriate guidance for intervention of humans in automated systems, provide immediate and direct feedback for control actions, provide simple and computerized display navigation and lastly, ensure response latency as well as visibility of system status.

Design For Production Performance and Reduce Human Error

Considering this principle, there should be provision of tolerance and error prevention to ensure that the equipment safeguards against human errors. This implies that there should be provisions of alternative measures for actions that could cause damage to the people, vessel, or even the environment. In addition to this, the bridge design should consider tasks and communication requirements, avoid control conflict and ensure compatibility of bridge staffing with requirements of operation (Ergonomic Design of Navigation Bridges, 2003).

Provide Job Aids and Training

The design should identify the required knowledge, skills as well as abilities. It should know the responsibilities of the bridge personnel while providing the necessary training in order to perform the needed tasks. The design should identify training requirements and needs, and provide the required procedure. In addition, the design should provide adequate warnings and labels, which are standardized, durable, usable, and readable for all components and equipments.

Perform Testing

This is the last principle, and, it emphasizes on verifying and identifying the correct implementation of the bridge. It also emphasizes on performing usability testing by use of hardware and software (Ergonomic Design of Navigation Bridges, 2003). This is for the purpose of stimulating uncommon, infrequent unpredictable and hazardous tasks.


Both maritime community and the offshore communities and the level of attention its receiving it is becoming alarming every day are continuously recognizing the role played by human factor in maritime safety. The reason for this is that ergonomics as a discipline on itself has brought tremendous efficiency in the maritime community through its application in marine fields.

The use of ergonomic methodology empathizes on the principles as well as their implementation. It takes into consideration on the aspect of marine machinery systems for the purpose of providing enough security through…

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