Do You Really Know Good Control Room Design?

Aug. 2, 2016
Designing from the operator out will help avoid abnormal situations and catastrophic events.

Of course I know what good control room design looks like.” Anyone who’s ever spent time in an operations center for a large refinery or chemical plant knows a good control room when they see one. Or do they?

In our experience, having been in many 24/7 mission-critical control rooms in continuous process industries, finding examples of “good control room design” isn’t easy. Think about your own experience. How many control rooms have you actually been in where the spaces were crowded, messy, disorganized, even perhaps mildly depressing? Did the room feel something like a dark, subterranean dungeon? Perhaps the image below recalls your own experience with control rooms (Figure 1).

Awareness and ISO 11064

However, there have been improvements over the past decades in control room design, along with our understanding of the role design plays in the efficiency and safety of these mission-critical spaces. There’s been a spreading, international awareness of safety in control room design due to standards published in 2000 by the International Organization for Standardization. In particular, ISO 11064 spells out standards for ergonomics in the design of control centers, and the layout and dimensions of workstations for maximum efficiency and safety.

Read the rest of this article from our sister publication Control Global.

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