A transactional approach of occupational stress and behaviour pivotal to human error and leadership in Maritime


Vineet Kaur Sandhu* and Kusum Lata

Maritime is a safety-critical industry with total commitment to safety in all shipping operations. New technological advancements in the maritime industry create new kinds of failures and accidents. Although the total number of marine casualties and incidents has steadied over the last few years [1], they raise an ever-growing safety concern of 'human error' being a recurrent contributing factor. Further, the high cost of wreck removal and rising insurance claims also highlight crew negligence as a growing problem. The review of international maritime literature gives evidence of human element essential for the shipping business's safety and efficiency, various maritime factors are posing challenges to the health, safety and environment at sea. Studies into human error have highlighted active and latent failures at different levels, the individual's pre-existing conditions and lack of competence to deal with are critical to errors. It is believed that an individual's perception of stress and coping skills are linked to the likelihood of errors and ineffective leadership, consequently affecting the system's success or failure. This paper draws attention to the transactional approach to the occupational stressors and human behaviour to understand the complex interactivity between the influencing factors causing the probability of human errors. It is concluded that the application of the classification of errors, awareness in psychological limitations and psycho-behavioural aspects of individuals, can help address the pre-condition level of unsafe acts and loss of competence to reduce the probability of human errors.