Maritime technology and risk prevention leader, Prevention at Sea has assembled a committee of 15 maritime safety heavyweights to evaluate and enhance its Human ELement Maritime Enhancement Tool (H.EL.M.E.T.), which has been utilised by the industry since 2016.
The inaugural two-day committee meeting, named HELMET-com, met this month in Larnaca, Cyprus. Chaired by Captain Nikiteas, DPA / CSO / HSQE Manager, Maran Dry of Angelicoussis Group, the committee explored how a human-centred risk assessment methodology can improve a safe business culture in shipping.
Not only impacting human life and the environment, major maritime incidents also lead to off hires, fines, non-conformances and detentions. It is widely recognised that the majority of these incidents are directly or indirectly caused by human error.
Despite the adoption of multiple industry initiatives, rules and procedures, audit results analysed by Prevention at Sea and the Centre of Excellence in Risk and Decision Sciences of the European University in Cyprus (CERIDES) shows that the early warning signals of unsafe practices are not being detected. This directly compromises safe fleet operations, impacts reputation, and leads to financial losses.
Developed by Prevention at Sea with input from CERIDES, H.EL.M.E.T. takes a triangular proactive approach, with its risk assessment methodology established to take a human-centric approach – designed to support shipping companies in achieving safety excellence and continuous improvement. It introduces Key Risk Indicators (KRIs), a new and unique approach of risk detection based on expert experience and input, best practices, and analysis of past data which complement the industry’s well known KPIs.
Committee members include experts representing international organisations, the industry and academia, from across the world, specialising in risk assessment, communications and management system standards. The committee aims to support the continuous improvement of H.EL.M.E.T. by sharing field-specific experience, lessons learned, and thoughts on new emerging risks that should be taken into consideration. H.EL.M.E.T. is also supported by the Cyprus Shipping Deputy Ministry.
Chairman, Captain Nikiteas, DPA / CSO / HSQE Manager, Maran Dry of Angelicoussis Group, commented: “Conducting shipping business safely remains at the very core of our industry and as we head into an unprecedented phase of change, never has it been so important. We must alter the current ‘tick box’ culture, with greater emphasis on a proactive approach to risk assessment which puts people at the centre, plus an awareness of the need for – and value of – guidance from experts. We applaud Prevention at Sea’s vision of re-establishing a genuine, industry-wide commitment to “safety first” and are excited to work together, as a committee of safety experts from both the industry and academia, to continue to develop the H.EL.M.E.T methodology.”
With the aim of detecting inefficient operational practices at an early stage, before they can escalate into major incidents, H.EL.M.E.T provides a simple, practical and effective methodology for risk assessment. With no need for the introduction of complex systems and procedures, it provides a proactive means of identifying unsafe acts and conditions, reducing risk, and avoiding delays, detentions, damage, penalties and the cost of being off-hire. Adoption also safeguards against the impact of future risk assessment requirements, ensuring that shipping companies are supporting employees in taking the right decisions at the right time.
With so many new rules and requirements to contend with, seafarers and shipping companies are struggling to cope. Those onboard and ashore need supportive guidance from experts enabling in-depth knowledge of requirements, as well as the early detection of unsafe practices. Guided by the HELMET-com, Prevention at Sea will embark upon the utilisation of technology and data analysis to detect uncommon patterns more quickly, enabling an even faster response to any issues identified.
Petros Achtypis, CEO, Prevention at Sea, commented: “When it comes to risk assessments, the maritime industry needs to go beyond the checklist and also factor in the human element. With H.EL.M.E.T we’ve created a standardised methodology which proactively detects clear signals that correspond to unsafe behaviours or situations before they can escalate and cause real problems.”
He concluded: “H.EL.M.E.T has been central to our risk assessments for some time. However, to critically evaluate the tool and deliver on our philosophy of continuous improvement, we invited a selection of respected maritime industry experts to work with us to enhance the methodology. Recognition of its industry-wide potential from such knowledgeable and respected safety experts is both exciting and reassuring for us, as we continue to deliver on our vision for a safer, smarter shipping industry. Indeed our ambition is that H.EL.M.E.T could one day represent the industry standard.”
HELMET-com will meet annually and interact throughout the year.