By Mika Kuhmonen, Elomatic
Safety is a topic on everyone’s lips. When users make a mistake or interpret a critical matter incorrectly, they may hurt themselves or damage the environment. The root cause of an incident may be noncompliance with instructions, incorrectly remembered procedures or a lack of attention – i.e. a human error. By analysing the working environment more closely, an error can sometimes be revealed as the result of logical thinking or foreseeable actions, which could have been avoided if the working environment had been well designed.
A good working environment is comprehensible, where users, such as control room operators, can easily obtain the information they need from the environment and user interfaces, interpret it and act correctly. In fact, the user interface in itself should act as a guideline structure, providing instructions for correct working procedures. This is affected by the design of different elements in the working environment, and the logicality, consistency and informativeness of user interfaces.
Separate instructions and signs are usually necessary, but all too often failures in design are patched up by simply providing additional instructions. This type of working environment stresses employees unnecessarily. If the environment is not intuitive to users, i.e. naturally understandable, it places a strain on perception and memory capacity and causes inference difficulties. Because a human’s brainwork-related cognitive capacity is limited, there is a greater risk of human error occurring.