Demanding control room work requires proper conditionsAuthor Sanni Marttinen
Control room work demands attentiveness and concentration. A well-implemented working environment as well as systems and devices that support the activities enable efficient work and reduce the possibility of errors occurring.
Visible and obvious shortcomings, e.g. bad working chairs or disorder are often not the most significant problems in a control room. Hidden factors that strain operators are identified when the space and work phases are surveyed through observation and by interviewing control room employees. They are the best experts regarding control room challenges and related work tasks.
Typical control room problems are:
- Restlessness in the control room
- Bad lighting
- Discontinuousness of displays
- Bad placement of displays
- Unsuitable workplace furniture
Part of the aforementioned problems can be the result of a control room display and workspace that were separately renewed, when the former furniture or displays were broken, or when process changes required different displays. Another reason could be a lack of knowledge regarding the types of workstation solutions that best support the operator’s work.
If the problems are not addressed, employees become susceptible to errors and accidents with increased sick leave and dissatisfaction. The costs of user-centered control room design are paid back in lower sick leave costs and savings related to more efficient and error-free operations.
Include the operators in control room design
When we start designing changes to a control room, the different alternative solutions can be presented to the end users and other stakeholders with the help of a 3D model or virtual environment. The designs are more concrete for the user in a virtual environment than in a 2D floor plan drawing.
The users of the space are committed to the project by involving them in different design phases. At the same time, hidden knowledge is harnessed to assist design. See selected design simulation references.
(Control room picture: Depositphotos, Dmitry Vereshchagin)
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