Beville has documented the activities of nearly 1000 petrochemical plant operators during more than 7000 hours of direct observation. For console operators alone, we have analyzed over 250 positions with more than 2000 hours in control rooms. All of these activities have been recorded and documented in Bevilleís workload database.
Building on this data, we have developed a method of quickly and non-intrusively providing a general assessment of console operator workload based on DCS data, specifically alarms and control moves (Figure to the right). The technique requires that a company provide one month of control move and alarm data from which an estimate of total current console workload is calculated. An example of the results of this analysis is shown in the table below. (Note: Numbers shown are for illustrative purposes and do not constitute real data or analysis.)
|Unit||Control Moves/Hr||Alarms/Hr||Required Staffing (FTE)|
In this example, Unit 1 workload requires a little over half of a full time operating position. In addition to providing valuable data on current workload, any disproportionate contributors to workload from either alarms or control actions are identified, providing the necessary information for companies to take concrete actions to manage console operator workload. Further, in areas where operators are under-loaded, this analysis provides the data necessary to identify consolidation options.
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This year's Fall meeting for the Center for Operator Performance will be October 24-26 in Corpus Christi. For more information, please contact Lisa Via. Guests are always welcome!
Our summer newsletter is now available. Click here!
Take our short survey on operator span of control. Click here (new window)
David Strobhar's book, "Human Factors in Process Plant Operation," is now available in both hardcover and Kindle e-book.
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