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Control room design - making sure that human factors are taken into consideration during design

19.6.2003
Control rooms play an important role in the petroleum activities. They must fulfil a number of barrier functions to reduce the risk of major accidents, personal injuries and material and financial loss. In order to improve the basis for establishing good control rooms, the NPD has developed an audit methodology for evaluating how human factors have been taken into consideration in design and operations.


In order for the control room to function properly, the room must be organized so that control room personnel have

  • the overview and support necessary to ensure safe operations,
  • the ability to handle various process interruptions and accident situations,
  • a good working environment.

The NPD's assessment is that many of today's control rooms do not meet these requirements. A number of development trends in new production concepts also entail an increase in control room personnel performance, which further underlines the essential need for control rooms and their function in facilitating the interaction between human beings, technology and the organization (MTO).

In the NPD's opinion, a lack of knowledge and experience in the use of human factors design principles is one of the main reasons that both new and old control room solutions do not function well and do not meet the regulatory requirements.

In order to improve the basis for establishing good control rooms, the NPD has developed an audit methodology for evaluating how human factors have been taken into consideration in design and operations.

The purpose of the method is to promote control room solutions that safeguard requirements for safety and operational regularity by:

  • Reducing the risk of errors in the control room, and reducing the consequences of potential errors
  • Contributing to a good working environment and reducing the risk that control room personnel are exposed to hazardous work strains
  • Contributing to more cost-effective design, construction and modification processes
  • Functioning as an efficient audit tool for the NPD and the industry, and thus contributing to improved understanding of the current regulatory requirements, and ensuring that the NPD's audits are more predictable.

On assignment from the NPD, the Institute of Energy Technology developed the first version of the methodology (in 2000). The method has now been revised and further developed by Human Factors Solutions, and is available in both Norwegian and English versions.

Areas of application for the methodology are development of new control rooms, modification of existing solutions, evaluation of functionality and regulatory compliance in existing solutions.

The NPD would like to thank everyone who has participated in developing this method, particularly the contributors from the industry.

Links to main document:

Word (1337 K) PDF (1406 K)

Presentation material has been prepared to explain the purpose and application of the methodology.

  • A short version (5 minutes) is intended for presentation to managers and personnel who are not directly involved in using the methodology.
  • A longer version (30 minutes) has been prepared for users.

Presentations:

Short version:
PPT (304 K)
PDF (136 K)
Full version: PPT (720 K) PDF (465 K)

Questions or comments can be directed to: