The Deadly Dozen – 12 Significant Human Factors in Maritime Safety

The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) issued a guidance note raising awareness of twelve of the most common people related factors the Deadly Dozen that can affect maritime safety, along with suggested mitigating actions available to companies, masters, and seafarers. For more information, click here to download MGN 520(M)

There is a wide range of contributory factors that result in maritime accidents, incidents and errors. Most result from a combination of several, even many different contributory factors ranging from purely technical failures to environmental, systemic, procedural, competence and behavioural factors.


The Human Element
  1. A consistently occurring factor throughout almost all accidents, incidents and errors is the human element – people’s ability and capability to deal effectively and safely with the complexity, difficulty, pressures and workload of their daily tasks, not only in emergency situations but also during routine operations.
  2. The majority of these accidents, incidents and errors are potentially avoidable if peoples’ understanding, actions and behaviour were different. This not only applies to seafarers (where the accidents usually occur) but also to people at all levels and positions within the overall wider maritime system, including ship owners, operators and managers and other shipping and maritime industry leaders whose actions can have a major influence on outcomes far removed in place and time.
Twelve Top People Related Factors – the Deadly Dozen
  1. This Note provides a summary of twelve of the most common people related factors along with tips and learning points which, if managed effectively have the potential to avoid and avert accidents, and make a dramatic improvement to maritime safety.
  2. They are the twelve most common conditions that can influence or act as pre-cursers to human error, leading to accidents or incidents. It is not a comprehensive list of accident and incident pre-cursers, indeed, there are several hundred possible pre-cursers. However, experience shows that the Deadly Dozen provides a useful and pragmatic introduction to understanding aspects of human error in organisations and workplaces and ship owners, ship operators and managers, masters, officers and crews are encouraged to become familiar with its principles and practices.


Source: UK MCA

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