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Human Factors in Process Plant Operation

Human Factors in Process Plant Operation

By David A. Strobhar

Call it the Human element in how a refining and chemical process operation is run….the other side of the machine and control system operation equation. Its value is in lives protected and money saved.
This plain English guide to the principles of human factors will enable operations and control personnel-both the experienced and uninitiated to understand how to successfully incorporate the concepts within their own plants. Through real-world examples, the author explains how human factors engineering concepts do, and must, dovetail with process plant design and operation. Offering practical insights, the book lays out the principles of human-system interactions and how they must be incorporated into any plant and control system from the get go-in order to ensure safe and efficient operations.

Control engineers and operations managers will gain incomparable, inside-the-industry experience from:
• Clear discussion of performance-shaping factors;
• In-depth discussion of key variables in terms of workload and staffing;
• A detailed analysis of the all-important human-machine interface,
including content and format;
• How-to planning for system demands and levels of automation;
• Invaluable guidance on worker selection and training, along with sample procedures and job aids; and
• Tools for investigation of incidents and near-misses from the human perspective.

A practical overview of human factors in process plant operation. Human Factors in Process Plant Operation is readable by anyone interested in learning more on the topic – operators, management and engineers.

Human Factors in Process Plant Operation is divided into 10 chapters as follows:

1. Introduction: historical overview of the human factors field,
2. Human Information Processing: covers event detection, memory, mental models, and how decisions are made.
3. Performance Shaping Factors: covers variables impacting operator performance.
4. System Demands/ Automation: covers how operator graphics, the control system and alarms place demands on the operator.
5. Workload and Staffing: reviews mental and physical workload and proper staffing levels for console and field operators during normal and upset operations.
6. Interface: reviews console layout and graphics design and structure. Hint-duplicating P&IDs and adding process data are not the best solution. For colors, less is more.
7. Operator selection and training: Describes desired skills, how to train, and training materials and tools.
8. Job and Organizational Design: Operator tasks, job rotation, team performance, and how consolidated control rooms change operator responsibilities.
9. Procedures/ Job Aids: Upset analysis, procedure organization, formatting, job aids (valve/ line labeling, manifold diagram, check lists, combinations of these aids).
10. Conclusion: Excellent application of the human factor principles presented in the book to the 2005 BP-Texas City Chemical Safety Board report.

Each chapter is summarized in a one-paragraph conclusion. The author also shares anecdotes from his 30-year career in applying human factors to process plants.

I can’t give the book 5 stars because ALL ILLUSTRATIONS are in BLACK and WHITE in the hard copy. Disappointing for a $100 book, since the author himself says “Why do we encode information, such as through the use of color? It increases the information transfer – more bits per square inch”. [page 30]. The illustrations showing the best use of color for operator displays (especially Figure 2.3 “Stroop Word-Color Test.”) are essentially meaningless without color. The author does note that “figures appear in color in the E-book edition of the book.” [page xiii]. I don’t see this information posted anywhere else.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781606504635
  • Publisher: Momentum Press, LLC
  • Publication date: 8/15/2014
  • Pages: 146

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