Operational error is a key contributor to incidents in process plants and the single largest reason for unscheduled shutdowns, resulting in several millions of dollars in damages and losses per year.
Operators today can be under vast amounts of stress that will have an impact on their responses to abnormal situations. Under normal operating conditions, the operator can apply their training and basic knowledge successfully. Even at the first sign of a fault, the operator is capable of acknowledging the event and responding accordingly. As the situation begins to deteriorate, however, the ability of the operator to respond effectively rapidly deteriorates.
When confronted with an abnormal situation, operators are faced with a landslide of information, and often a flood of alarms. It can be difficult to sort through all the noise to get to the right data and make a good decision in a crisis. Inappropriate decisions or failure to respond in adequate time can potentially lead to a production incident or worse still, injury or fatality.
To overcome these problems, Yokogawa has introduced Advanced Decision Support (ADS) to assist operators in making the right decisions at times of increased stress such as during the initial stages of operation or during abnormal conditions. The ADS concept is designed to use best practices to assist operators in semi-structured or unstructured decision-making processes to support operator judgment.
Advanced Decision Support consists of three key functions: alarm management, Human Machine Interface (HMI) management, and procedure management implemented in the Process Control System. ADS is a consulting methodology based on Yokogawa consultants specializing in fields such as knowledge engineering and ergonomic design. This combination can help customers effectively integrate, engineer and operate the above functions based upon the International Society for Automation (ISA) globally recognized standards:
Effective alarm management provides a clear view of the operating conditions, eliminating the blind spots that can lead to unnecessary plant downtime.
Solutions to improve operator comfort, ergonomics, safety, ease of communication, functionality, automation of systems, and business policy.
Yokogawa solutions developed to address issues covered in the emerging standard for the design and implementation of procedures for automating continuous process operations.
HMI design consulting services for graphic design of process control systems to improve productivity, safety, and the work condition of your plants.
Operational error is the single biggest reason for unscheduled shutdowns in process plants, causing several millions of dollars in damages and losses per year. Combine this with an aging skilled workforce leaving the work place, with inexperienced people to replace them, and there is no doubt that process plants face a challenging problem.
In times of abnormal operations, systems are configured to produce lots of data – humans are not configured to handle or interpret them. However, when presented with the right information, in the right context, during an abnormal condition, humans are able to do things machines cannot.
Dr. Maurice Wilkins - executive advisor at Yokogawa speaks with Alastair Greener from the Business Reporter at the Daily Telegraph and shares his thoughts on Process plant operators, automation and how they need to work together in a crisis.
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