Control and monitoring rooms are critical areas for many sectors, such as energy, logistics, security, factories, operating theatres and IT. Operators often spend long hours monitoring processes or locations that are often high-stakes, which can be stressful and tiring. Ergonomics is a crucial element in optimising the safety, productivity and well-being of these workers. In this article, we will look at how ISO 11064 can help improve control room ergonomics.

What is ISO 11064?

ISO 11064 was developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in response to a growing need for ergonomic design standards for control centres. This standard aims to improve the health, safety and well-being of control centre operators by providing recommendations for the design of workspaces that reduce fatigue, stress and health risks.

This standard is divided into 7 chapters:

  1. 11064-1 : Principles for the design of control centres
  2. 11064-2 : Principles for the arrangement of control suites
  3. 11064-3 : Control room layout
  4. 11064-4 : Layout and dimensions of workstations
  5. 11064-5 : Displays and controls
  6. 11064-6 : Environmental requirements for control centres
  7. 11064-7 : Principles for the evaluation of control centres

One last important detail: the ISO 11064 standard is chargeable for each of these chapters.

What are the benefits of ISO 11064?

The implementation of the recommendations set out in the ISO 11064 standard allows in particular :

  • Improved operator and facility safety
  • Reducing human errors and incidents through ergonomic and intuitive design
  • Optimising operational efficiency through better organisation and workflow
  • Reducing training and maintenance costs through standardised design
  • Compliance with legal requirements (labour law, employer’s liability, etc.)

The ISO 11064 criteria

The most important criteria according to the 11064 standard are:

1. Principles for the design of control centres

According to ISO 11064, 9 principles should be considered for the ergonomic design of control centres:

  • Application of a human-centred design approach
  • Integrating ergonomics into engineering practice
  • Improving design through iteration
  • Performing situational analysis
  • Performing task analysis
  • Designing error-tolerant systems
  • Ensuring user involvement
  • Form an interdisciplinary design team
  • Document the basics of ergonomic design

In summary: In a user-centred approach, design starts with understanding the needs of the operator. End-users actively participate in the process by working with a multidisciplinary team to describe the tasks to be performed and the risks to be avoided. This information is then used as the basis for developing the right solution for their needs.

2. Principles for the arrangement of control suites

These principles include delineating work areas, estimating the size needed for each area, identifying the links between these areas, and creating a preliminary layout of the control room and adjacent areas to facilitate the transition between the different activities that will be carried out there.

The design process of a control centre usually consists of several project phases, as follows:

3. Control room layout

This part of ISO 11064 focuses on the needs of users. The processes described have been designed to take these needs into account at every stage of the design process.

4. Layout and dimensions of workstations

Again, the needs of the operator must be at the centre of the design of technical furniture. It is important here to take into account the ergonomic recommendations:

  • LThe work console is at the right height to prevent arms from hanging down or putting pressure on the wrists.
  • The monitor is located far enough away to place the keyboard, a laptop or even a notebook without having to put them on the legs.
  • The workspace allows you to store all the necessary equipment and tools while maintaining correct posture and a comfortable distance from the screen.
  • There is no risk of legs hitting console parts or parts that protrude from the work area.

5. Displays and controls

The objective of the human-machine interface is to maximise the safe, reliable, efficient and comfortable use of displays and graphics processors.

6. Environmental requirements for control centres

Lighting, acoustics, temperature, humidity and vibration are key factors influencing operator performance and comfort. For example, it is recommended to:

  • Avoid strong differences in colour contrast between workstations, furniture and equipment.
  • Locate control rooms as far as possible from sources of vibration, such as emergency generators and compressors.
  • Design the control room to reduce noise levels in the surrounding environment.
  • Keep the temperature between 20°C and 24°C in winter, and between 23°C and 26°C in summer.

7. Principles for the evaluation of control centres

The final step in determining whether a control room design is successful is to conduct a post-occupancy evaluation after it has been commissioned. Operators provide feedback after having been involved in the project from the beginning. The lessons learned are then evaluated, documented and any recommendations for improvement are communicated.

All of these chapters of the standard provide a systematic method for ensuring the well-being of operators and the safety of the entire system. ISO 11064 is a central tool for all professionals working in the design of control rooms, as well as for those seeking to improve the safety and efficiency of critical operations.

Motilde will help you in the ergonomic design of your control or supervision room. To download the standard, go to the ISO website.

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