Operators are eyes and ears of a process, like pilots, they have to manage multiple instruments at the same time. They have to be positioned to resolve issues before they escalate and become catastrophic, if we address human factors in their displays, alarms, consoles, and work environment, we can address and enhance situation awareness.
To be effective, we must ensure operators remain vigilant, aware of current and future situations, and are trained to quickly diagnose and correct problems as quickly as possible. We have to speed up operator detection, problem solving, and response – that is why we are so focused on integrating the user interface into the design of the room: Alarms, displays, lighting, screens, alarm notification, and trends have to be integrated into the environment.
All of these systems must effectively improve situation awareness and should NOT be designed in a vacuum. If these core components are designed correctly , designed together as an integrated situation awareness system, you will meet the needs of the operators, and improve operations at its core.
Future projects should include Control Room Situation Awareness and a review of operator staffing, specifically measuring workload and time to respond to abnormal situations. The goal; to balance the workload between the right number of operators by considering the complexity of the processes that they manage and taking into consideration the additional workload associated with automation deficiencies.
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