The Royal Institution of Naval Architects' booklet "Guidance on the Safety Role of the Naval Architect" provides information and guidance to all naval architects on safety management and associated methods. The booklet has been revised to reflect the latest developments in ship safety. Initially published in 1993 as “Guidance for Members Concerning Safety Assurance”, this revision reflects the latest developments in ship safety.
The word “guidance” is appropriate to this document because although many experts and respected authorities have attempted to define rules and measure safety performance, the approach taken will need to vary to best suit the case being considered, taking into account issues such as the complexity of the ship, the role for which it is intended and the degree of innovation.
In the course of their professional activities, naval architects are obliged to ensure that human life, the environment and property are properly safeguarded. The Conventions of the International Maritime Organization provide the starting point for achieving this objective. Members must also comply with national statutes and appropriate Port and Coastal State regulations of the country in which they are working. Contained within them is the knowledge and experience of seafarers, surveyors, designers and repairers, compiled over more than a century of world-wide shipping history. These regulations and ship Classification Society rules, continuously updated, provide the foundation of established good practice.
However, compliance with such regulations and standards cannot be relied upon to achieve an optimally safe outcome, particularly where systems or their mode of operation are novel or complex. A systematic, risk-based, approach to safety enables complex safety issues to be addressed explicitly and in doing so enables innovation while ensuring that safety goals are achieved. Members must be aware of the particular conditions of their contracts, the safety duties placed on them by their employers and, above all, the personal obligation to exercise a duty of care in their work towards their employees and others.