Considering human interaction in a project's design is not new and is traditionally applied at various design reviews and during construction to ensure operability. Human factors are routinely considered in industry for a facilities operating phase including walking working surfaces, access for maintenance, and general biometric requirements. Including human factors in construction and constructability reviews is the next step-out in human factors program implementation. This requires careful consideration of human factors and the design implications to allow for safe construction execution processes and overall safety of construction workers.

This paper will discuss ExxonMobil's systematic application of human factors considerations throughout the life cycle of a project including engineering design, construction planning, and execution phases to allow safe operations throughout the facility's life cycle.

Definition of Human Factors and Programs

Human Factors affects the design and engineering of the interface between work environment, technology, and human interaction to increase safety, performance, and productivity. More specifically, human factor programs provide a systematic process to design that applies and integrates knowledge of the capabilities, limitations, and needs of people with respect to:

  • • worksite design (facilities layout, configuration, and accessibility)

  • • equipment and tools used

  • • environments worked in (temperature, noise, lighting)

All of this while considering the biometrics of the workforce that will be employed at the worksite.

Human factors reviews normally will focus on human interfaces (physical and cognitive factors) that improve a workplace designed for human use (working environments and machines and equipment used).

Major consideration must be given so that procedures can be written and employed that do not require performance beyond the operators capabilities, produce fatigue, provide appropriate information flow and do not violate the operators expectations.

Human Factors in Engineering Design

Incident rates have fallen since the implementation of process safety management regulations and process safety systems. These systems and regulations target facility information, risk characterization, and development of sound operating procedures for a facility. The implementation of these programs and management systems did create a step change decrease in industrial accidents as they were implemented as illustrated in Figure 1. Application of human factors programs created a reduction in accident rates in operating facilities. These programs were also implemented in the design of new facilities considering the operating phase of the facilities. Human Factors is now considered integral to the design.

This content is only available via PDF.
You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.