2004 - Chemical Manufacture

The client was installing modern DCS computer control technology in an old control room. This was a temporary measure, whilst a new control room was built, but could last up to two years. Andy visited the control room to observe activities, discuss the operators' views and consider options to improve ergonomics given the significant constraints caused by reusing an existing room. Reference was made to HSE guidance and ISO 11064. The report discussed concerns about workstation layout, which put the two control room operators at some distance apart. Suggestions were made about how the layout could be changed to assist in teamwork. Operators had said they would need assistance in the control room at times of high demand, yet there were no spare workstations, and even answering the phone for the operators would be difficult. Options to allow such support were proposed. Some existing, wall mounted instruments and controls were located some distance from the new workstations, and the report stated that these needed to be moved as a priority. Also, it was noted that either operator in the control room could silence and accept all the alarms, and there was a significant possibility that alarms could be missed. Suggestions were made to improve the arrangement. Some of these were implemented immediately. Others were used to inform the design of the new control room.