Development of a Concept for Ergonomic Design and Work Organization of Remote Lock Operation Centers
Authors: J. Bützler, F. Motz, A. Mertens, H. Horoufchin, C. Bröhl, N. Jochems, C. M. Schlick
Abstract: A trend can be observed towards grouping and shifting local operations to centralized remote lock operation centers (RLOCs) due to costs and limitations in personnel resources and the increasing automation level of technical systems. However, safety-critical activities still require active monitoring of processes by a human operator with help of adequate technical systems and interfaces. Therefore, many video images and abstract representations must be shown simultaneously at one workplace to guarantee an all-inclusive overview. Given this situation, it has to be determined from an ergonomic point of view how many systems (e.g. lock chambers) can be controlled by one operator. Therefore, the challenge is to develop a new efficient and ergonomic control concept for RLOCs that prevents straining work conditions in terms of mental over- and underload. This control concept should enable the short-term and situation-dependent allocation of systems to operators. Moreover, prospective personnel resource planning and the design of the control panels have to be adapted to the control concept and human performance factors.The following paper presents a study covering the analysis of tasks and processes in remote lock operation centers around Germany including soft- and hardware design components in use. Based on the results, a new concept integrating ergonomic requirements for remote control and monitoring has been developed. This concept enables the assignment of optimal workload to one workplace by determining the potential straining condition within one shift. For the purpose of integrating prospective and retrospective evaluation, a practical guide for personnel management and scheduling has been developed. It includes a questionnaire and calculation specifications that can be generically adapted to other remote operation centers. In addition to the strain which is evoked by the main tasks of lock control and monitoring, it also considers the impact of additional tasks. Based on the developed concept for remote control and monitoring and in accordance with the assessed ergonomic design requirements, the control panel layout has been determined with regard to anthropometric dimensions.
Keywords: Ergonomic Design, Remote Operation Centers, Lock Operation, Control Panel, Personnel Management, Usability
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