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This book addresses human factors research in energy, an emphasis on human factors applications in design, construction, and operation of nuclear, electrical power generation, and oil and gas assets. It discusses advanced strategies in the optimization of human and environmental performance, as well as personal and process safety. The book covers a wealth of topics in design and operation management of both offshore and onshore facilities, including design of control rooms, front-end engineering design (FEED), criticality analysis, offshore transport, human contributions to accidents, cognitive bias in decision making, safety-critical human tasks, and many others. Based on the AHFE 2016 International Conference on Human Factors in Energy, held on July 27-31, 2016, in Walt Disney World®, Florida, USA, the book fills an important gap in the current literature, providing readers with state-of-the-art knowledge in human factors best-practice approaches across different types of industries and energy applications.



Erratum to: Consumer Electric Energy Management Strategies and Preferences in Emergency Demand Response: Results from a Survey

Huiyang Li, Haya Salah, Ziang Zhang

Reducing Human Error Through Situation Awareness, Training, and Simulations


Toward a Descriptive Measure of Situation Awareness in Petrochemical Refining

The petrochemical field is seeking to increase efficiency, improve safety, and lessen environmental impacts. One way to improve the performance of operators is to investigate their situation awareness (SA). Research has shown that SA is a predictor of performance. However, there is little consensus on how to measure SA. This study investigated two prominent techniques for measuring SA: the Situation Present Assessment Method (SPAM) and the Situation Awareness Global Assessment Technique (SAGAT). These techniques were examined for their psychometric properties in assessing SA among operators. Results of this investigation showed both SAGAT and SPAM could predict certain performance variables exclusively of each other. It was also found that SPAM and SAGAT were not sensitive to changes in SA resulting from differences in task workload. However, neither measure was significantly intrusive on primary task performance, suggesting that these metrics can be used in future experiments in petrochemical refining with further refinement.
Tristan Grigoleit, Hector Silva, Mary Ann Burress, Dan Chiappe

Full Scale Evaluation of How Task-Based Overview Displays Impact Operator Workload and Situation Awareness When in Emergency Procedure Space

Control room modernization is critical to extending the life of the 99 operating commercial nuclear power plants (NPP) within the United States. However, due to the lack of evidence demonstrating the efficiency and effectiveness of recent candidate technologies, current NPP control rooms operate without the benefit of various newer technologies now available. As nuclear power plants begin to extend their licenses to continue operating for another 20 years, there is increased interest in modernizing the control room and supplementing the existing control boards with advanced technologies. As part of a series of studies investigating the benefits of advanced control room technologies, the researchers conducted an experimental study to observe the effect of Task-Based Overview Displays (TODs) on operator workload and situation awareness (SA) while completing typical operating scenarios. Researchers employed the Situation Awareness Rating Technique (SART) and the NASA Task Load Index (TLX) as construct measures.
Zachary Spielman, Rachael Hill, Katya LeBlanc, Brandon Rice, Gordon Bower, Jeffrey Joe, David Powers

Identifying Macrocognitive Function Failures from Accident Reports: A Case Study

Reliable macrocognitive functions are important for maintaining system safety. Few studies were conducted to investigate macrocognitive function failures in a complex system. NUREG-2114 proposes a cognitive framework connecting macrocognitive function failures, proximate causes, failure mechanisms, and performance influencing factor (PIFs). This model can serve as a model for analyzing human failure events in human reliability analysis (HRA). This study investigated macrocognitive function failures in a complex environment and also examined the usability of the cognitive framework in the HRA qualitative analysis. A total of 103 investigation reports of incidents and accidents from a petrochemical plant in China were involved. It was found that 35 % of the incidents and accidents could be attributed to human errors. Failures of action implementation and team coordination were the dominant failures. This study also gave the information of proximate causes, failure mechanisms, and PIFs for each macrocognitive function failure. The usability issue of the cognitive framework in NUREG-2114 was discussed. It seems that the current cognitive framework needs to be improved to inform HRA.
Peng Liu, Xi Lyu, Yongping Qiu, Juntao Hu, Jiejuan Tong, Zhizhong Li

A Literature Review on Human Reliability Analysis Techniques Applied for Probabilistic Risk Assessment in the Nuclear Industry

A literature review of a number of Human Reliability Analysis (HRA) methodologies is carried out in this paper. The focus of the paper is on the use of an HRA method to quantify the probability of a human error that can then be plugged into the overall plant Probabilistic Risk Assessment (PRA), specifically in the nuclear industry. In keeping with this criterion, the modeling techniques selected for review are Technique for Human Error Rate Prediction (THERP), Accident Sequence Evaluation Program (ASEP), Cause-Based Decision Tree Method (CBDTM), Human Cognitive Reliability/Operator Reliability Experiments (HCR/ORE), Simplified Plant Analysis Risk-Human (SPAR-H) reliability assessment, Justified Human Error Data Information (JHEDI), Cognitive Reliability and Error Analysis Method (CREAM), A Technique for Human Error Analysis (ATHEANA), Nuclear Action Reliability Assessment (NARA) and Human Error Assessment and Reduction Technique (HEART). It is concluded that while no one methodology can cover all aspects of HRA due to each having their own set of limitations, a combination of certain methodologies can provide a more accurate Human Error Probability (HEP) for input into the PRA.
Ninochka Dsouza, Lixuan Lu

Applying Human Factors: Building Better Processes, Procedures and Organizations in Energy


Developing a Human Factors Engineering Process for Control Room Upgrades

There is a lot of evidence that complex engineering projects do not always proceed as have been planned. One of the reasons is the lack of socio-technical systemic approach to systems design. The aim of this paper is to present a review of basic principles of HFE in the nuclear domain. Our findings and practical experiences suggest that there are several challenges for successful implementation of HFE work, such as the proper timing of HFE activities, the appropriate sharing of knowledge among designers, HFE experts, and management, and the integration of HFE into the systems engineering process. Some recommendations are offered for a more systematic application of HFE practices in the nuclear domain.
Hanna Koskinen, Jari Laarni, Leena Salo, Paula Savioja

Defining Expertise in the Electric Grid Control Room

Electric distribution utilities are on the brink of a paradigm shift to smart grids, which will incorporate new technologies and fundamentally change control room operations. Expertise in the control room, which has never been well defined, must be characterized in order to understand how this shift will impact control room operations and operator performance. In this study, the authors collaborated with a utility company in Vermont to define and understand expertise in distribution control room operations. The authors interviewed distribution control room operators, HR personnel, and managers and concluded that a control room expert is someone who has 7–9 years’ experience in the control room and possesses certain traits, such as the ability to remain calm under pressure, effectively multi-task and quickly synthesize large amounts of data. This work has implications for control room operator training and how expertise is defined in the control room domain.
Susan Stevens Adams, Francis P. Hannigan

Measurement Sufficiency Versus Completeness: Integrating Safety Cases into Verification and Validation in Nuclear Control Room Modernization

This paper reviews verification and validation (V&V) as applied in the context of nuclear power plant control room modernization. A common approach for V&V is summative or late-stage evaluation of the finalized design through a process called integrated system validation. Yet, common practice in user-centered design is to conduct evaluations early on in-progress system prototypes. Iterative, early-stage evaluation can form the basis of a safety case argument to ensure the regulatory acceptability of the new human-machine interface in the control room. It is argued that a series of formative evaluations provide more complete evidence of the safety of the new system than does a single summative evaluation.
Ronald Boring, Nathan Lau

Human Factors in Energy


Consumer Electric Energy Management Strategies and Preferences in Emergency Demand Response: Results from a Survey

Demand response has not been widely accepted by the residential consumer, in part due to the lack of understanding of how average residential energy consumers will behave under different scenarios. The objective of this study is to examine consumer energy management strategies in emergency demand response using a survey. Participants were given a scenario where they were the owner of a single-family house and had participated in an emergency demand response program, and answered questions related to electricity usage. Results showed that between 27 and 39 % of the participants were willing to turn off the AC in the emergency demand response. More than 86 % of the participants were willing to change the AC setting to some extent. The higher the bonus was, the more participants were willing to do so. Willingness of postponing the use of other appliances highly depends on the category of the appliances.
Huiyang Li, Haya Salah, Ziang Zhang

Exploring Observed Cognitive Error Types in Teams Working in Simulated Drilling Environments

Errors made by drilling teams were observed during simulator-based exercises that formed part of a well control training course. Each course lasted four days and comprises both non-technical and technical theory with five simulator-based exercises. The exercises are observed for key team non-technical skills (NTS). In feedback sessions, the observers debriefed the team members about their areas of effective NTS performance and also where improvements could be made. This paper will specifically focus on the errors (i.e. performance that was classified as either ‘marginally below’ or ‘well below’ expectations) made by the teams during 105 observed exercises. An understanding of such errors will allow future training programs to focus on areas for improvement and designing training that transfers into the real rig-site.
Margaret T. Crichton, Scott Moffat, Lauren M. Crichton

The Human Factor Role in the Reducing of the Power Supply Reliability

The article describes the problem of power supply reliability of hazardous production facilities for Russian coalmines. The authors analyze the accidents in the coalmine external power supply networks for the period from 2014 to 2015 and reveal the weak points in the power supply organization. It is proved that the main cause of power supply violations is the human factor. As a way to increase the power supply reliability the authors propose the algorithm based on the objective quantitative adjectives that eliminates the subjective opinion of the staff and the management of both company-consumers and electric grid companies.
Irina Semykina, Eugene Skrebneva

Simulation and Interface Design for Safety Focused Research


An Overview of the IEEE Human Factors Standard Development Activities—2016

Since 1980 the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has supported development of human factors (HF) standards. Within IEEE, Subcommittee 5 (SC5) of the Nuclear Power Engineering Committee develops and maintains HF standards applicable to nuclear facilities. These standards are structured in a hierarchical fashion. The top-level standard defines the HF tasks required to support the integration of human performance into the design process. Five lower tier documents expand upon the upper tier standard. Presently, two new HF standards projects are underway; one to provide HF guidance for the validation of the system interface design and integrated systems operation and another for designing and developing computer-based displays for monitoring and control of nuclear facilities. In addition to producing and maintaining HF standards, SC5 is also involved in outreach activities, including sponsorship of a series of conferences on human factors and nuclear power plants.
David R. Desaulniers, Stephen Fleger

The Impact of Simulation Display on Nuclear Power Plant Task Error Frequencies

This research investigated the impact physical fidelity has on error frequencies when operating a simulated nuclear power plant (NPP) main control room (MCR). The simulated environment used in this study uses dual 24″ monitors and a mouse as its interface, which represents the interface of digital power plants planned to come online. The simulator models an NPP MCR using scroll/pan/zoom (SPZ) to navigate Instrumentation and Control (I&C) panels housed along MCR walls. However, touchscreens can be used to display entire I&C panels, which represents the legacy plants in use today and requires participants to stand to operate in the MCR. A between-subjects experiment was conducted to evaluate desktop and touchscreen interfaces for their impact on response times and error rates when performing reactor operator (RO) tasks. While increased physical fidelity through larger field of view did help reduce response times, using touch induced more miss touch errors than the mouse.
Jonathan Harris, Lauren Reinerman-Jones, Grace Teo

Neuropsychological Aspects Observed in a Nuclear Plant Simulator and Its Relation to Human Reliability Analysis

This paper will discuss preliminary results of an evaluation methodology for the analysis and quantification of errors in manual (human) operation by training cognitive parameters and skill levels in the complex control system operation based on Neuropsychology and Psychophysiology approaches. The research was conducted using a game (nuclear power plant simulator) that simulates concepts of operation of a nuclear plant with a split sample evaluating aspects of learning and knowledge in the nuclear context. Operators were monitored using biomarkers (ECG, EEG, GSR, face detection and eye tracking) and the results were analyzed by statistical multivariate techniques. The experiments aimed at observing state change situations such as shutdowns and planned matches, incidents assumptions and ordinary features of operation. The preliminary findings of this research effort indicate that neuropsychological aspects can contribute to improve the available human reliability techniques by making them more realistic both in the context of quantitative approaches for regulatory purposes as well as in reducing the incidence of human error.
André Ricardo Mendonça Pinheiro, Eugênio Anselmo Pessoa do Prado, Marcelo Ramos Martins, July Silveira Gomes, Enrique López Droguett

Framework for Evaluating the Impact of Environmental Conditions on Manual Actions

Ensuring successful protection from and mitigation of external floods at nuclear power plants (NPPs) has received increasing attention in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear accident. Following the incident, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) required all operating U.S. NPPs to identify nonconforming conditions and to verify the adequacy of monitoring and response procedures. Additional NRC initiatives aim to ensure that manual actions, i.e. actions taken outside of the main control room for flood protection and mitigation, are both feasible and reliable. We developed a framework to identify the key components and relationships required for an analytical approach or model to assess the impacts of environmental conditions (ECs) on the ability of individuals to perform flood protection and mitigation manual actions.
Garill A. Coles, Angela C. Dalton, Kristi M. Branch, Rajiv Prasad, Nancy P. Kohn, Alvah C. Bittner

A Virtual Reality Based Approach to Improve Human Performance and to Minimize Safety Risks When Operating Power Electric Systems

Power systems require continuous operation for reasons of public safety, emergency management, national security and business continuity. Companies today control an electric system by means of 2D line diagrams, whereas a substation in the field is a 3D space. There exist situations where new control center operators have never been immersed into a real substation environment. When these operators visit a real electric substation, the environment is at minimum ‘strange’. This fact unquestionably reduces human performance when it comes to operating the electrical system, since a great deal of mental effort is required by the operator to associate both 2D and 3D worlds. There are situations where some modifications and replacements have to be executed within the real substation environment. Hence, to design such procedures on the 2D line diagram does not adequately reflect the reality of the field. For example, it is impossible, in this 2D scenario, to design the route taken by a truck carrying a huge electric component. In this case, safety factors also arise and need to be given due attention. It is important to seek new alternatives to ensure that systems are designed in a manner as to optimize human performance and minimizes risks, thus producing higher productivity, health and safety in the work place and safety in work processes. On the other hand, Virtual Reality (VR) is known as providing “the feeling of being there”. With the features provided by VR, it is possible to simulate all real operations of an electric substation with such precision that it has bearing on real world environments. For this reason, this paper proposes a Virtual Reality approach for the simulation, training and control of electric substations. In this approach, a virtual substation is realistically replicated according to its dimensions, using electric component data sheets, pictures, videos and floor plans. This is relevant as safety rules state that the distance between electrical components must be taken into account. Next, by means of a web service, data from a supervisory system is allocated to each component in the virtual substation, so the operator can attain access to all the information required for possible intervention, as is the case in real life. It is believed that all the features explored in this work have the capacity to increase human performance when operating a power electric substation.
Alexandre Cardoso, Paulo R. Prado, Gerson F. M. Lima, Edgard Lamounier

The NRC Human Performance Test Facility: An Approach to Data Collection Using Novices and a Simplified Environment

In the spring of 2012, as part of a ‘hub and spoke’ model of research to address the human performance concerns related to current as well as new and advanced control room designs and operations, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) sponsored a project to procure a low cost simulator to empirically measure and study human performance aspects of control room operations. Using this simulator, the Human Factors and Reliability Branch (HFRB) in the Office of Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) began a program of research known as the NRC Human Performance Test Facility (HPTF) to collect empirical human performance data with the purpose of measuring and ultimately better understanding the various cognitive and physical elements that support safe control room operation. To accomplish this, HFRB first procured two 3-loop Westinghouse pressurized water reactor simulators with the capability to run a full range of power operation scenarios. HFRB staff work as co-investigators along with a team of researchers at the University of Central Florida (UCF) to design and carry-out a series of experiments aimed at measuring and understanding the human performance aspects of common control room tasks through the use of a variety of physiological and self-report metrics. The intent was to design experiments that balanced domain realism and laboratory control sufficiently to collect systematic, yet meaningful human performance data related to execution of common main control room (MCR) tasks. Investigators identified and defined three types of tasks that are examined in the present project: Checking, Detection, and Response Implementation. Task type presentation was partially counterbalanced to maintain ecologic validity with experimental control. A variety of subjective and physiological measures were used to understand performance of those tasks in terms of workload. The simulator used to collect these data was a digital representation of a generic analog NPP MCR interface. The data resulting from this experimentation enhances the current information gathering process, allowing for more robust technical bases to support regulatory guidance development and decision making. The present paper describes the approach behind this research effort.
Niav Hughes, Amy D’Agostino, Lauren Reinerman-Jones

Using the Human Systems Simulation Laboratory at Idaho National Laboratory for Safety Focused Research

Under the United States (U.S.) Department of Energy (DOE) Light Water Reactor Sustainability (LWRS) program, researchers at Idaho National Laboratory (INL) have been using the Human Systems Simulation Laboratory (HSSL) to conduct critical safety focused Human Factors research and development (R&D) for the nuclear industry. The LWRS program has the overall objective to develop the scientific basis to extend existing nuclear power plant (NPP) operating life beyond the current 60-year licensing period and to ensure their long-term reliability, productivity, safety, and security. One focus area for LWRS is the NPP main control room (MCR), because many of the instrumentation and control (I&C) system technologies installed in the MCR, while highly reliable and safe, are now difficult to replace and are therefore limiting the operating life of the NPP. This paper describes how INL researchers use the HSSL to conduct Human Factors R&D on modernizing or upgrading these I&C systems in a step-wise manner, and how the HSSL has addressed a significant gap in the process for upgrading systems and technologies that are built to last, and therefore require careful integration of analog and new advanced digital technologies.
Jeffrey C. Joe, Ronald L. Boring
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