A Method for Identifying the Key Performance Shaping Factors to Prevent Human Errors during Oil Tanker Offloading Work

Renyou Zhang* (Corresponding Author), Huixing Meng, Jun Ge, Henry Tan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Oil tanker offloading is a human-related and high-risk task. A small operational error may trigger catastrophic accidents such as fire and explosion. It is recognised that more than 70% of industrial accidents are blamed for human errors, so preventing them is crucial. As human error is associated with a variety of Performance Shaping Factors (PSFs), it is meaningful to identify key PSFs for safe operations during oil tanker offloading process. However, some issues are obstacles to finding the crucial PSFs. The recording data of most PSFs are always incomplete and imperfect. Moreover, the standard for ranking PSFs should be rational. In addition, the performance of each PSF at the different stages is oil offloading is usually unstable and may change with time. As a result, this study aims to conduct a method that mainly relies on Grey Relational Analysis (GRA), the definition of “Risk” (combination of likelihood and impact), and Hierarchical Task Analysis (HTA) to find several significant PSFs to prevent human errors. GRA deals with the incomplete and imperfect data; the definition of “Risk” provides a rational basis for ranking PSFs; and HTA gives support for considering the PSFs’ changes at different stages of a task. The proposed approach is tested on a real engineering case of oil tanker offloading work at offshore terminal. The result indicates that the method can be applied to identify key PSFs, which in turn provides recommendations for human error prevention to ensure the safety both on board and at terminal.
Original languageEnglish
Article number688
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Marine Science and Engineering
Issue number5
Early online date18 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2022

Bibliographical note

Acknowledgments: The authors would like to appreciate the experts and the engineers working in the Beihai Oil Terminal for their constructive supports during the development of this work. The authors would also like to thank the editors and the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments.


  • grey relational analysis
  • definition of “Risk”
  • PSFs
  • human error prevention
  • oil tanker offloading


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