ISO 11064 Is Still Crucial in Control Rooms. Here Is Why.

ISO 11064 is the only Ergonomic Standard that comprehensibly addresses the Human Factors and Ergonomics of a control room. The role of the standard is twofold, it addresses the risk to humans through Repetitive Stress Injuries or MSDs which have been identified globally to cost industry more than $508 Billion which includes human error, turnover and absenteeism.

The cost is broken down into $108 Billion associated with accidents and incidents, $306 Billion in lost productivity and $40 Billion in health care costs. Shift worker cost employers $8,600 per person per year compared to day workers.

People who work shifts may have difficulty making biological and social adjustments required by shift work:

  • Chronic sleep problems affect 60 to 80 percent of all shift-workers.
  • Stomach disorders are 5 times more likely to occur
  • Chronic fatigue affects 80 percent of all shift-workers
  • Mood swings and depression are 5 to 115 times more likely to occur.
  • Drug and alcohol abuse rates are higher among shift-workers.
  • Shift-workers have more serious accidents on the job than other workers.
  • Divorce and spouse abuse rates are higher among shift-workers.

Studies show that sleepiness can have a negative effect on any of the following:

  • Attention
  • Concentration
  • Reaction time
  • Memory
  • Mood

Musculoskeletal Disorders MDSs produce 33% of Lost Time injuries is the USA with 41% related to back injury, 13% to shoulder and 10% to legs. In 2010 it was estimated that the average direct cost per MSD in 2010 was $20, 500. The benefits of following an Ergonomic program can result in a 61% decrease in injury rate and a 30% decreased severity (cost). The benefits of reducing MSDs can also reduce wasteful motions and reduce fatigue, increase productivity by $550B, save time, reduce error rates by 80% and decrease turnover and Absenteeism by 70%. Also, workers compensation expenses can be reduced between $9 - $23 Billion, for every dollar invested in Safety/ Ergo has a $3 to $6 ROI (Liberty Mutual Insurance Company).

Secondly the Ergonomic Standard is designed to address the demons of Situation Awareness that compromises an operator from being able to perceive a problem before an alarm activation causing operators to be reactive to problems and experiencing high failure rates of equipment as it is stressed, reduction in productivity by 3 – 15% and impact product Quality and has led to many Environmental excursions.

It also hinders an operator from diagnosing the root cause of an abnormal situation leading to more time in abnormal and reducing the time to correct the problem before the consequences of the problem are experienced. The overall time to respond is doubled without good Situation Awareness. Many of the problems that compromise Situation also impact fatigue such as poor lighting in a control room.

The Standard is designed to address all these issues with the experience of a trained ergonomist. It addresses practical aspects like viewing angles, comfort and natural posture, awkward posture and static positions that lead to stress. Force, grip and pinching, repetition – frequency and speed over time. Contact stress and vibration. Solutions are identified using Administrative Controls, Engineering Controls and Work Practice Controls.

The International Standard is not Ergonomics for dummies but is a well-proven methodology, with Anthropometry, physical environmental guidance, suggestions for reducing fatigue to the body, eyes, and hands.

Together, with operations knowledge, a knowledgeable designer can save a capital project significant savings and overall life-cycle costs can be dramatically reduced through investment in ergonomics as stated above.