Each Human Factors contribution starts with a task analysis. This step is required to get information about how the human operators perform their tasks. Typical outcomes of a task analysis are:
- task allocation: how the work is divided over the jobs
- physical and mental workload
- walking routes
- communication lines
- work relations between operators
- workplace requirements
- field-of-vision requirements
- User Interface requirements
- crew preferences, concerns and ideas
For the best results, a task analysis should take place in a real work situation, preferable on a comparable vessel. Usually the analysis is based on interviews and observations, but more formal methods like a HTA (Hierarchical Task Analysis) are also possible.
If a real work situation is not available, onshore walk-through / talk-through sessions with crew members can be a good alternative.
A common misconception is that task analysis information is part of the standard expertise of a shipyard: be noted that most yard engineers have no actual sailing experience and are often not allowed to directly interact with crew members.