10 Years Advancing Operator Performance via Research

Much research has been done over the last decade on improving the performance of plant operators to safely, reliably and efficiently operate their production processes. Huge contributions to these efforts have come from the Center for Operator Performance (COP). This group of industry, supplier and academia’s mission:

…to raise the performance level of our operators and improve Health, Safety, and Environmental effectiveness is accomplished through:

  • Openly sharing knowledge and ideas,
  • Including vendors in research decisions,
  • Teaming with leading human factors researchers and universities, and
  • Collaborating with a focus on HS&E.

Center for Operator PerformanceIt’s hard to believe that the Center for Operator Performance is celebrating their 10th anniversary this week at their Spring Meeting at McNeese University in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

They’ll be discussing many things including case studies on using the COP research to improve control system human machine interface (HMI) development, alarm tone research updates, virtual reality simulations and training systems to name a few topics.

Over this decade, COP has performed research in interfaces, systems, operator competencies and organizational culture. Here’s a listing with abstracts of completed research projects.

For example, the Console Operator Situational Awareness (COSA) display design project:

…identifies the core characteristics required to design an effective situation awareness overview display for an operator’s scope of responsibility. The study also recommends proven methods for determining display content, structure, and navigation. The design guidelines provide a means to create a COSA overview display that enables the console operator to answer these two critical questions in four (4) seconds or less. Learn more about this project in the September 2015 Project Summary Console Operator Situation Awareness (COSA): Designing an Effective COSA Overview Display

Current ongoing research includes Alarm Tones, Decision Making Exercise (DMX) scenarios, Optimizing Operator Workspaces, Procedural Compliance Warnings and more.

Members of COP have access to all this research and best practices. Their Membership Information page provides details on how to get involved and get access to this research.

It’s great that many of the things that we take for granted in the information provided to operators is being deeply studied and reviewed to help improve the tools, practices and organizational culture to operate more safely, reliably and efficiently.