Being always too busy is unsustainable. Having personnel light on work is costly. The solution is a manning study, enhancing all-round efficiency and safety.


Organisations need to be as efficient as possible, but having stretched personnel will at some stage be a problem. The same is true when employing too many staff for operational activities, as personnel can quickly grow complacent or lose motivation. Getting the workload balance just right is fundamental to optimising performance and safety. Personnel are responsible for their colleagues’ well-being, and that of the public around them.

What we offer

Your manning complement, who does what, is unique to your organisation. Our solution reviews your staffing arrangements. We start by understanding all current personnel activities, as documented. Here, we use detailed activity mapping (also known as task analysis). We can also carry out a workload and a human reliability assessment, followed by efficiency analysis. 

The options are outlined below. They also support with operational concepts, moves to automation or the integration of system upgrades. This is smart investment, which has benefited our clients across sectors, from marine, aviation and rail to oil and gas and energy.  


We help our clients in the following ways.

Workload Balance

Activity mapping (task analysis)

Our desk top review looks at your safety management system and associated documents, identifying all assigned tasks for each role or activity. We usually consider normal, degraded and emergency situations, along with routine and non-routine maintenance tasks. The exercise provides a baseline of activities as planned by an organisation. We can meet and discuss the mapping work with your team, checking that we’ve interpreted your documents as intended. To make sure we catch activities that are not recorded, we observe and interview target employees, such as a ship’s crew, office staff, signallers or rig workers. 

 You gain a clear, detailed and comprehensive understanding of the activities being completed in the setting. For a manning efficiency analysis, this work helps us assess the impact of any changes to personnel or responsibilities. 

Workplace assessment

When you know what your personnel need to do and by when, you’re best placed to assess current workloads and make changes. For each staff member, we can determine: 

  • the hours worked and logged
  • the workload experienced for completing time-intensive and critical activities
  • how different levels of workload are viewed and experienced.

We collect different types of workload data to best meet each client’s requirements. Examples include:

  • workload data collection, based on time occupancy
  • post-observation interviews, probing activity and workload 
  • on-task, self-assessment workload data collection (such as NASA-TLX). 
Human reliability assessment (HRA)

Alongside activity mapping, we’ll help you understand the likelihood of human errors across the safety critical activities we’ve identified. You have two assessment options:

  • qualitative – identifying potential human failures with the aim of optimising the factors that enhance human performance
  • quantitative – as above, plus estimating the likelihood of such failures occurring. 

Whichever assessment is best for you, we’ll consider the main hazards and risks with each activity. And we’ll identify activities where manning may change, specifically where people and hazards come together and could be a major source of risk if there’s human error. For the latter, this comprehensive assessment: 

  • considers maintenance and response to upsets and emergencies, as well as normal operations 
  • identifies potential human failures in these key steps by considering how activities could be performed incorrectly 
  • identifies performance influencing factors that make these failures more likely, such as time pressure, fatigue or the quality of procedures
  • manages failures using the hierarchy of control – for example, considering changes to responsibilities, eliminating the hazard or optimising performance influencing factors
  • manages error recovery, ensuring the error can be identified (either by the person who made the error or someone else) and recovered from.
Efficiency analysis

We’ll highlight where you can make efficiency improvements and adjust manning levels. We do this by determining a workload level and efficiency indicator for each current function. We then look at the flexibility of tasks performed across fixed and non-fixed roles in relation to the mapped activities.  

Specifically, we’ll work through potential scenarios for your organisation, reallocating activities and responsibilities based on known constraints (such as regulations or certification requirements). In this way, you’ll know the effect of scenarios on a workload and the risk of human error, and see where efficiencies can be made safely.

What are the benefits?

  • An efficient workforce, with tasks optimised across teams and departments.
  • Efficient operations, minimising the likelihood of fatigued and demotivated staff.
  • A full understanding of activities actually performed across the organisation and the potential for human errors.
  • Reduced human error risk.
  • Being best placed to asses future manning requirements, creating effective competency management systems, materials and assessment. 
  • An understanding of the impact of automation, new technologies and modifications on your workforce.

Why choose LR?

Our highly skilled specialists bring a range of experience in manning efficiency assessments to your project. We’re experts at using a variety of relevant human factors tools and techniques across different industries, including marine, offshore, rail and defence. 

Our leading approach is thoroughly robust. For instance, for workload or task analysis, we consider cognitive, critical, functional, hierarchical and safety critical matters together.