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Upset/Off-Normal Workload Analysis

The requirements for responding to a unit upset establishes the minimum staffing levels for process units. Different methods are used to determine the requirements for outside operators and board operators.

Outside operator requirements to handle an emergency are assessed through procedural walk-throughs. A worst case upset is chosen and the operators are asked to "walk through" their actions. In the course of the walk-through, the operators are queried as to difficult tasks, potential problems due to equipment malfunction or variations in the upset. The operatorsí actions are observed to determine if equipment is accessible or information is available to make decisions and/or take action. The walk-though results are then formatted in a flowchart style for easier viewing.

After being put into the flowchart format, the tasks are rated along two dimensions: (1) Risk and (2) Effort. Risk is associated with the consequence of not performing the task, and effort refers to the physical effort experienced by the operators while performing the task. This analysis of the tasks allows Beville to identify both bottleneck tasks and upset load/utilization.

Determining the upset requirements for board operators involves "talking through" a worst-case upset and evaluating the DCS configuration and alarm system structure, along with other variables. Frequently the problems in upset response originate with poor DCS configuration, which limits the board operator's ability to respond effectively to an upset situation. If it is determined that the majority of problems originate at the board, it is necessary to ascertain the causes of the problems and potentially perform an alarm and display system analysis to go hand in hand with the upset response management.

Operator Upset Response Chart

If upset staffing requirements are greater than steady state staffing for a unit, two sets of options are developed. One option entails increasing the steady state workload to improve personnel utilization. The other option involves automating upset tasks to reduce the workload needed to handle an upset.

For further information, visit the links below.

| Workload/Staffing Analysis Overview | Steady State Workload Staffing Analysis | Steady State Job Samples | Overtime Calculator -Excel download |


Article Published By
Console Operator Staffing Workload And Automation - ISA Automation Week 2012
How Good is Your Operator's Mental Model? Mynah
Modularizing Emergency Procedures for Increased Ease of Use and Updating
Operator Performance Takes Center Stage Chemical Processing
Operator Training Gains Ground Chemical Processing
Operators Get More Help Chemical Processing
Simple, Strong and Easy-to-Use Control Global
Teach Operators to Make the Right Decisions Under Fire
The Keys to Operator Performance


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!


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