Is the international safety management code an organisational tool to discipline the human element

  • DE Laryea


The birth of the International Management Code for the Safe Operation of Ships and
for Pollution Prevention (hereinafter ISM Code) is said to a reaction to the sinking
of the Herald of free Enterprise on 6th March 1987.The human element is said to be
a generic term used to describe what makes humans behave the way they do and the
consequences that result. The author would seek to analyse the ISM Code if, it is a
management tool that disciplines the human element. Though, the ISM Code leads more
towards structured safety measures and to an upgraded concern for the responsibilities
inherent in every rank and functions of the shore staff and vessel crew, can it be said to
be a management tool to discipline the human element? Since it has limitations, such
that the personnel onboard and ashore, who are involved in its implementation through
a Safety Management System (hereinafter SMS), should understand, be motivated,
willing to own and implement the SMS, just to mention a few. Again the ISM Code does
not prescribe punitive actions against the person who fail to follow a company's SMS.
Again, it's been said that, the completing of checklists and paper work that comes with
the SMS does not necessarily prove actual physical action taken. The ISM Code may
be a good management tool to discipline the human element, if the personnel involved
would own the system and willingly make it work by giving a purposeful attention to the
performance of assigned tasks.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2026-6324
print ISSN: 2026-6324