A practical application of the Hierarchical Task Analysis (HTA) and Human Error Assessment and Reduction Technique (HEART) to identify the major errors with mitigating actions taken after fire detection onboard passenger vessels

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Fire onboard passenger ships is a major hazard not only for the personnel, passengers, and the environment, but also for the vessel itself. Therefore, the response actions carried out by crewmembers after a fire has been detected onboard a passenger vessel are of outermost importance. SAFEMODE project aims to promote contemporary safety thinking through a collection of carefully selected Human Factors (HFs) Fact Sheets that includes the most-known HFs techniques for accident investigations, to help accident investigators and safety managers within maritime organisations. Therefore, this paper proposes to apply two of the above-mentioned Fact Sheets, namely Hierarchical Task Analysis (HTA) and Human Error Assessment and Reduction Technique (HEART). Hence, this paper initially demonstrates how HTA can be applied to model the human response actions to a fire onboard a passenger vessel, and secondly, it utilises a systematic human error reduction and prediction approach, namely HEART, to predict and quantify which errors are likely to occur. Results from this paper reveal that six human response errors are most likely to occur, with a Human Error Probability of 0.16 according to the HEART analysis. Finally, this paper also suggests remedial measures to mitigate each error identified.
Original languageEnglish
Article number111339
Number of pages7
JournalOcean Engineering
Early online date21 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022


  • maritime safety
  • human factors
  • HTA
  • passenger vessels
  • fire response

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