Ergonomics. For some organizations it’s a matter of health and safety. For others it’s an issue of efficiency. Regardless, ergonomics is always a financial concern – particularly in highly technical operations where ergonomic upgrades to a control room require a much greater investment than a few keyboard trays.
Well-designed control rooms balance efficiency with ergonomics by fitting the surroundings and demands of the job to the capability of the operators. A key aspect of any successful ergonomic control room is the console – it is the piece of the puzzle that connects the operator to the technology and therefore has a significant impact on performance.
Justifying ergonomic changes can be challenging in even the best economic times. Managers will be more likely to commit to ergonomic improvements when they understand the economic benefits of the investment.
There is little question that ergonomic improvements result in greater comfort and improve the performance of operators monitoring very complex systems. However, management is more likely to judge these benefits by their financial return on investment (ROI) than their direct effect on operators.
The cost vs. benefits of incorporating an ergonomically designed console in the control room can be analyzed from three perspectives:
- Regulatory compliance
- Improvements to health and safety of workers
- Increases in operator efficiency
Together, these ROI models can be used to demonstrate a direct correlation between ergonomic improvements and positive financial returns.
With this in mind, the international standard known as ISO 11064 provides guidance on ergonomic design of control centers. Primarily, the standard recommends taking top-down approach to designing the control room with the greatest emphasis being on human factors.
The standard takes into consideration the specialized tasks required in control rooms and outlines a process for achieving user-centered design, which reflects how operators interact with systems to perform various tasks in the control room environment. In complex technical environments such as control rooms, operator error can result in disastrous consequences.
Ergonomically designed control rooms optimize interfaces between operators and machines by taking into account the equipment used, the tasks required and fully recognizing the limitations of the operator to achieve greater productivity and reduce human error.
Furthermore, an ergonomically designed control room can improve flow and efficiency, requiring fewer operators to perform the same number of tasks without sacrificing the quality of work. This may result in financial gains due to reduced staffing costs.
Looking beyond the numbers, ergonomics is a good investment in improving the quality of life for workers. Operators that are more comfortable and better able to do their jobs will find greater satisfaction in their jobs, thus improving the morale of your organization. Happy workers are, after all, healthy workers.
Winsted is a proud sponsor of AMAG’s 12th annual Security Engineering Symposium to be held March 1-4, 2013 at The Loews Coronado Bay Resort in San Diego, CA. For more information about Winsted, please visit www.winsted.com.
Jackson Hall, Vice President of General Security Services Corporation (GSSC), Harley enthusiast and kid at heart was recently featured in Man Caves magazine for his elaborate Harley Davidson and sports themed man cave.
What started out as a garage floor upgrade in preparation for his daughter’s graduation party grew into a fun place to hang out and host parties. From Super Bowl to office parties, to entertaining GSSC clients, his man cave became THE place to be.
Jackson and his wife Shelley enjoyed working on the space, and found themselves adding more and more to it as the years went by. Jackson scoured Craigslist for deals on signs, games and matching décor. As of now, the Man Cave sports 18 neon lights, two 37” flat screen TVs, stereo, electronic dartboard, two pinball machines, popcorn machine, Ms. Pacman table top game and fold-up ping pong table. The walls are lined with 1/8” thick diamond plate steel and the floor is covered in a retro black and white checkered pattern VCT tile. The garage is heated when it’s cooler outside, and a custom screened garage door is used on those nights when a good cigar just can’t be refused. It’s the ULTIMATE ManCave!
When a friend recommended his man cave be featured in Man Caves magazine, he couldn’t refuse. The magazine sent writers and photographers and Jackson enjoyed every minute.
He admits in his free time he’s a 16 year old trapped in a 50 year old body. “Life’s too short to not have fun. It’s an escape for me. Our business is very serious, and I deal with a lot of issues all day long – so it’s a fun place to relax and escape at the end of the day,” he says.
He parks his Harley Davidson and a 50 year old Corvette convertible that was a gift for his wife in his garage. While he does drive them, they are part of the man cave’s décor. “I watched for deals, and when I found the right price I purchased the red corvette,” he said.
GSSC celebrates its employee’s anniversaries every five years. For his 20th anniversary, GSSC gave a Harley Davidson high top table with stools and a few neon lights to Jackson. He is proud of his work at GSSC and is reminded how well they treat their employees every time he sees his table or signs. Jackson just recently celebrated his 25 year anniversary with the company.
Located in Bloomington, Minnesota just outside of Minneapolis, GSSC has been a family owned business since 1946 and loyal AMAG integrator for 10 years. They are also a PSA Integrator.