HomePeopleTechniquesValuesHot TopicsContact Us
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
Operator Stress
Staffing for Safety Management
Training for Emergencies

..Nuclear Human Factors
Nuclear Safety Cases
Stress in the Control Room

Shift work is an essential part of continuous processes and is becoming increasingly commonplace to meet the 24-hour demands of consumers. However, shift work can lead to human errors and fatigue from shiftwork is identified by the UK Health and Safety Directorate as one of the ten most significant human factors issues.

By understanding the effects of shift work on human biorhythms, it is possible to redesign or re-organise tasks to reduce errors and minimise the effects of fatigue. It is also possible to advise workers so that they can cope better with the demands imposed by shiftwork, during both their working time and their non-working time.

A particularly important issue for most shift workers is ensuring that they have accurate mental models of a system when they take over, so that they are fully aware of any outstanding work or problems that have been encountered. Therefore, shift handovers are particularly important to reduce the risk of omitting important tasks, or of wrongly diagnosing future events. Changes in plant set-ups and the availability of staff and equipment should be well defined during shift handovers.

Ergonomists can advise on:
  • shift hours
  • shift rotation
  • rest breaks
  • shift handovers

Synergy has:
  • Assessed workload and manning during night shifts at a nuclear reactor
  • Defined shift handover procedures to minimize human error
  • Undertaken studies of the effects of fatigue upon control room operators
  • Monitored 12 hour shift trials.