Operating and maintenance manuals
In the past, CHIRP has expressed growing concerns that absent and inadequately prepared procedural instructions are contributing to human errors in shipboard operations and maintenance tasks. We were pleased to note on the IMO World Maritime University’s Springer web site, details of a paper on the effects that the style and structured headings used in shipboard operating and maintenance manuals can have. Material from CHIRP publications is used in the study.
In summary: Where the seafarer is reliant upon operating and maintenance manuals as a pathway to safe and successful completion of tasks, manuals should be structured to support ease of access and inference. The application of rule-based design principles, supported by research and theory, reduces the potential for error in operation and maintenance tasks. Furthermore, in the absence of such a regime, procedures may in fact open the pathway towards unsafe behaviour, leaving both user and equipment vulnerable to the consequences of human error.
There is little doubt that procedures and checklists will NEVER work efficiently until and unless they have ownership by the END USER.