Human Element, Human Error or Human Factors?

Abhijith Balakrishnan, Founder of the Even Keel podcast and newsletter, addresses the origins, meanings and differences between the “human element” and “human factors.”

There are times you come across like minds – to me,  Abhijith is one of those minds – and sometimes you get there in very roundabout ways.

The year was 2020 and that little thing called COVID was turning the world on its head.  I, like many others, turned to the internet for information and, believe it or not, connection.  I’m not sure exactly how I came across Ron Gantt‘s Physically Distant/Socially Connected (PDSC) Workshop Series.  I was hooked!

Little did I know that the others on these remote workshops included successful safety practitioner’s, acclaimed researchers and visionaries in the field of safety sciences.  The information was engaging and the subject matter thrilling!

Back out at sea several months later, I saw an announcement for one of the last PDSC Workshops – with a presentation by a mariner!  Pardon the pun, but that was right in my wheelhouse.  With the internet gods smiling on me, I was able to participate in the workshop from my office at sea.  And, I met Abhijith Balakrishnan.

I have followed him since on social media and had an opportunity to discuss safety with him in the years since.  Through Abhijith’s own workshop series that brought safety-minded mariners together online and Ron’s workshops, I have “met” many people that I would not have otherwise.  And been exposed to safety theories and practices that I definitely would not have found on my own.

Abhijith is now studying in Lund University’s Human Factors and System Safety master’s program.  His analysis of human factors, the human element and human error is maritime-based and illuminating.  I suspect we’ll hear more from Ahhijith over the years.

Let’s be safe out there.


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