Operator Safety Issues of Control Room Designs

Safe operation is crucial for socio-technical organizations, especially for high-risk process industries such as nuclear power plants. The operation result is dependent on human operator performance when executing various control activities in the control room. When control rooms are new built or modified it is highly important that the new design supports the operators’ activities to achieve safe operation, and therefore it is important to evaluate the control rooms from a human factors perspective. However, there is a need for further development of human factors evaluation methods. Areas of improvement are methods for risk assessment, situation awareness, mental work-load and communication. There is also a need for improved method use early in the development process and predictive methods to determine impact of control room changes on safety, work environment and productivity. The purpose of the project is to further develop the knowledge about methods to evaluate existing, modified and new control rooms for process control, primarily with focus on safe operation but also performance and well-being.

The research project has three goals:

  • Modify existing and develop new methods, guidelines and principles for evaluation of safety aspects of control room modifications or new built control rooms.
  • Provide guidance to the governing authorities to improve their competence regarding inspection of control rooms with focus on safety issues
  • Enhance the knowledge regarding evaluation of complex socio-technical systems with focus on control room design for supporting safe operation, performance and well-being.

Partner organizations

  • Luleå University of Technology (Academic, Sweden)
  • Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT) (Private, Finland)
Start date 01/07/2012
End date The project is closed: 30/06/2016

Published: Thu 31 May 2018.