Great technological developments have transformed the societal topography onboard, just as in other
industries. Many tasks previously performed by hand can now be executed faster, cheaper and more accurately using machines, enabling crew reductions as a way to minimize operation costs. Yet, the human element is an indispensable part in any work system.
We are matchless when it comes to adaptability and flexibility, but we are also vulnerable to factors in our work environment that can impair our work performance if not managed properly. In a recent study, Swedish shipowners were asked to identify the human element issues they considered most important to address in order to increase safety, productivity and well-being at sea. The answers could be categorized into six dimensions: leadership, culture, knowledge, communication, participation and human resources; all of which influence and guide company activities and direct how decisions are made.