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Synergy Ergonomics

People In Complex Systems
Synergy Consultants Ltd
..Industry Sectors
Defence Industry Ergonomics
Power Industry Ergonomics
Oil & Gas Industry Ergonomics
Process Control Industry Ergonomics
Transport Ergonomics

..Ergonomics Applications
Abnormal Situation Management
Alarm Reduction
Complementing / Manning
Human-Computer Interaction
Safety Cases
Training Needs Analysis
Human Error / Human Reliability Assessment

..Human Factors Issues
Compliance with Safety Requirements
Diagnostic Tasks
Maintenance
Operator Stress
Shiftwork
Staffing for Safety Management
Training for Emergencies

..Nuclear Human Factors
Decommissioning
Nuclear Safety Cases
Refuelling/Defuelling
Refurbishment
Stress in the Control Room
..

Diagnostic Tasks
The onset of a plant fault or serious accident presents one of the most severe challenges to the plant operator’s skill.

Once alerted to a problem, typically by means of an alarm or an off-normal process parameter, the plant operator must follow this up by diagnosing the cause of the disturbed symptoms. Accurate recognition of the underlying problem leads to the correct choice of the appropriate remedial action which will alleviate the disturbance and restore normal operation.

Diagnosis is a complex cognitive skill that can entail the recognition of patterns, the matching of process activity and mental models, prediction and trend analysis, all often on the base of sparse and rapidly changing information. Correct diagnosis can be the key to effective fault management – as it is the diagnosis which will prompt selection of the correct remedial actions. Inaccurate diagnosis can lead to more downtime or more serious consequences.

Successful diagnosis relies on:
  • Human –machine interfaces designed to meet the requirements of diagnosis
  • Well presented and thoroughly understood fault procedures
  • Operations staff trained in fault-finding skills, in particular they should learn strategies to aid in diagnosing unfamiliar fault conditions

Ergonomists can aid in the development of aids to diagnosis whether this is in the design of information presentation or in prescribing effective training exercises.

Synergy has:
  • Investigated the elements of diagnostic skill
  • Undertaken research studies into training for emergencies
  • Evaluated interfaces for emergency management
  • Evaluated procedures for fault and transient conditions