Automatic operator error trapping?


Thread Starter

X Guan

Hi, everyone:

I am carrying out a survey of automatic (human) operator error trapping techniques/systems and applications for large scale complex processes, where the human operator is co-ordinating the system through a series commands issued via an operator console.

If you have any pointers on good sources of information on this field (products, companies, books, published papers, conferences, workshops, Internet sites, etc.) then I would be most grateful to hear about them.

Many thanks for your help.

Xiaohong Guan

Jean-Yves Fiset


Operator error in the process industry is a difficult topic, as the first order of business is to determine what constitutes an error. This seemingly trivial question often leads to much soul-searching; is an error an action that leads to an incident (but then, what if the operator followed all the rules and good practices and there was still an incident?). What if an incident occurs and it was found that the operator had deviated from the rules, but that the deviation was common among the operators and was required to keep the operations going (a not uncommon situation)?

There has been a fair amount of research on this topic; for background, you may want to look at papers published by James Reason, a British psychologist who has done much research on this topic. From memory, one of his paper was titled "Recurrent Errors in the Process Industry". If this is the kind of information that you are looking for, let me know and I'll look up the reference. Other resources include technical magazines such as "Applied Ergonomics" and "Ergonomics", as well as "Human Factors". The FAA and NASA also have web sites dealing with Human Factors that usually contain useful information.


Jean-Yves Fiset

Johan Bengtsson P&L Automatik AB

I completely agree with you, It gave me one more thought however:

Is this error trapping going to do something to prevent it or just notify someone about what ti detected?

If it is to do something "on its own" and not just notify then what if an incident happens and the operator did the right thing and this error trapping prevented the operator from doing it and that caused the incident? This will not be a problem for a "notify only" error trapper.

/Johan Bengtsson

P&L, Innovation in training
Box 252, S-281 23 H{ssleholm SWEDEN
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