Human error probability assessment during maintenance activities of marine systems

Rabiul Islam, Faisal Khan, Rouzbeh Abbassi, Vikram Garaniya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Citations (Scopus)
54 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Maintenance operations on-board ships are highly demanding. Maintenance operations are intensive activities requiring high man–machine interactions in challenging and evolving conditions. The evolving conditions are weather conditions, workplace temperature, ship motion, noise and vibration, and workload and stress. For example, extreme weather condition affects seafarers' performance, increasing the chances of error, and, consequently, can cause injuries or fatalities to personnel. An effective human error probability model is required to better manage maintenance on-board ships. The developed model would assist in developing and maintaining effective risk management protocols. Thus, the objective of this study is to develop a human error probability model considering various internal and external factors affecting seafarers' performance.
Methods: The human error probability model is developed using probability theory applied to Bayesian network. The model is tested using the data received through the developed questionnaire survey of >200 experienced seafarers with >5 years of experience. The model developed in this study is used to find out the reliability of human performance on particular maintenance activities.
Results: The developed methodology is tested on the maintenance of marine engine's cooling water pump for engine department and anchor windlass for deck department. In the considered case studies, human error probabilities are estimated in various scenarios and the results are compared between the scenarios and the different seafarer categories. The results of the case studies for both departments are also compared.
Conclusion: The developed model is effective in assessing human error probabilities. These probabilities would get dynamically updated as and when new information is available on changes in either internal (i.e., training, experience, and fatigue) or external (i.e., environmental and operational conditions such as weather conditions, workplace temperature, ship motion, noise and vibration, and workload and stress) factors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-52
Number of pages11
JournalSafety and Health at Work
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Publisher 2018. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • human factors
  • human error probability
  • maintenance operation
  • marine system
  • reliability assessment


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