ASM Consortium Meeting Focuses on Human Factor Issues

April 3, 2012
New Challenges Faced in Plant Operators

Human factor issues took center stage at the Abnormal Situation Management (ASM) Consortium Meeting on Monday, where Quarterly Review Meeting (QRM) members dicussed automation solutions designed to be simpler and more intuitive to use.

QRM serves as a platform for members to share ASM best practices and discuss new challenges faced in plant operations. The latest meeting topic was human factor issues – the way people interact with technology and how it can be made easier to use.

"Human factors are an increasingly important issue for plant operators. As technology continues to improve and plant operations become more complex, we need to improve the way people interact with process control systems," said Peggy Hewitt, director of the ASM Consortium. "Systems that are simpler to operate and more intuitive for operators can lead to safer and more efficient plants."

According to members of the ASM Consortium, Members and guest speakers discussed how human factors relate to abnormal situation management and ways it could improve plant safety and efficiency. The consortium includes a wide range of industrial manufacturers, vendors, and universities.

Jeremy Codd of Arch Insurance spoke at the event to members explaining how the insurance industry evaluates safety and human factors in the oil and gas industry, also gave a presentation focused on human factors.  Human factors included "Reducing Abnormal Situation in Ethylene Plant Start Up" and "Use of Dynamic Simulation to Improve Project Operability."

Members concluded the meeting by recommending that plant operators seek Human Factors Awareness Training, a web-based resource offered by the Energy Institue (EI), an energy industry group.