Ergonomics is a broad concept that covers all aspects of the human-machine interface in a work environment. To apply ergonomics to console selection, you first must understand what tasks a human performs and what principles of ergonomic design come into play in the performance of those tasks. Ergonomic console selection begins with a thorough task analysis. A task analysis is a detailed study of how operators perform the various components of their jobs and how they interact with others and with the machines and equipment that are used to perform the job. Task analysis includes but is not limited to the following considerations: workload, task load, corporate culture, situational awareness, and communication.
Once you have thoroughly analyzed the tasks that each operator undertakes, use general principles of ergonomic design to determine the safest and most efficient methods to maximize human performance. Proper ergonomic design of a control console takes into account the operator's body postures, movement, and visual comfort. Environmental factors, such as ambient noise and illumination levels, are also considered. The goal of a properly selected, ergonomic console is to reduce operator stress and to enhance alertness at all times so operators can remain focused on their tasks. The following principles are of use in the selection of ergonomically designed control consoles.
We are the only company that offers an ergonomic console specification document where we identify the user requirements through a task analysis study and develop a user-centered specification that allows our customers the advantage of evaluating multiple products by giving the furniture vendors a spec that meets the users' needs. This way our customers don’t have to customize off the shelf solutions and hope and pray that the end product will work. By identifying the users' requirements up front you can be assured that you will end up with exactly what your operators need. This also allows you to compare apples to apples when evaluating furniture from multiple vendors.
You may have noticed that you have a lot of choices when it comes to control room furniture and console furniture. Stay focused on the user and their roles, jobs, tasks, and need for a healthy working environment that promotes vigilance and combats fatigue. Educate yourself on the ISO 11064 standard. The design standard will guide you as you address each user requirement and will assure that the workstation design, controls and displays create the basis of compliant control room furniture.
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