The Port of London Authority has unveiled its latest safety campaign - targeting human error - which has been linked to at least 40% of accidents on the river Thames in the last two years

In the last two years, more than 40% of accidents involving ships using the river Thames have been the result of human error.

To tackle this, the Port of London Authority (PLA) has launched a new safety campaign, focusing on tackling the so-called “human factor”.

A picture showing how accidents are caused by human error

“Over the last two years, human error was linked to more than 40% of the accidents on the river,” explained the PLA chief harbour master, Bob Baker at the campaign launch.

“Often it’s the simplest of things that trip people up, whether recognising that their mind’s not on the job or suddenly thinking ‘I wasn’t clear in my instructions’,” he said.

Part of a safety campaign for the river Thames to tackle human error

The PLA decided to target human error after analysis of incident data showed that it was the leading cause of navigational incidents on the tidal Thames in the last two years.

Part of a campaign to tackle human error on ships on the river Thames

It drew on Maritime & Coastguard Agency guidance to draw up its ‘Deadly Dozen’ list –  the 12 top people related factors which can contribute towards an accident.

These are:

· Habits – Don’t confuse efficiency with dangerous short cuts
· Unity – Do you work well together?
· Mindfulness – What have I missed?
· Attentiveness – Are you multi–tasking or dangerously distracted?
· Notifying – Do you speak up when you should?

· Fitness for duty – Are you fit to carry out your duties safely?
· Ability – Is your crew capable?
· Communication – Do you understand each other?
· Tensions – Are you just busy or dangerously overloaded?
· Overtired – Are you just tired or dangerously fatigued?
· Routine – Just because things are going well now, doesn’t mean they can’t go wrong.
· Safety Culture – Do it the safe way, do it the right way, do it everyday.

“Our campaign is aimed at raising awareness of the Deadly Dozen,” explained Baker.

“Over the next 12 months we will be giving hints and tips to river users on a variety of elements, including best practice, communication and avoiding distractions,” he continued.

Part of a campaign by the Port of London Authority to tackle sailor errors

“Our statistics show, for example, that as the winter nights close in, the risk of accidents increases,” stressed the PLA’s chief harbour master.

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“October, between 5 pm and 6 pm, is a real accident ‘hot spot’ people need to be alert to, for example,” he added.

The launch took place at the PLA’s annual stake holder forum on Tuesday (9 May).