Human errors in relation with Human-machine interface and Occupational Safety and health in Manufacturing Industry * Ramanathan Muthukaruppan
The use of complex machines and systems has been ever increasing in all sectors, especially in manufacturing sector. Most of the industries go for rapid upgrades in production technology to face the global competition. Particularly, manufacturing machines in metal industry is affected by increasing complexity and increase in use of complex machines and systems. In general, the working environment has become more complex in industrial processes. This expands beyond production section to monitoring and quality control sections of the industry as well. This results in increase in operators’ mental workload and consequently in increased risk of errors because the machine operators have to handle complex data and alarms and to take safety-critical decisions under the pressure of unexpected and rapidly changing hazardous situations. Thus HMI (Human Machine Interface) has gained greater significance in Occupational health and safety in terms of increasing accidents due to errors. Human errors because of complex HMI not only results in accidents but also serves as a source for increased mental strain and stress. This Literature review is focused on four main questions: * What are the aspects of HMI design that serve as direct source of human errors? * What is the impact of the human errors due to complex HMI in mental strain and stress of Machine workers in manufacturing industry? * What is the current state of research and development that focuses on reducing the human errors due to complex HMI in manufacturing industry? * What is the future direction of research and development on HMI design in relation to reducing human errors in workplace that leads to occupational injuries and illness? 2. Significance of Human Machine Interface in relation to human errors in Occupational Safety and Health 2.1 Increasing importance of Human-machine interface:
Consequences of increased automation in workers for workers’ health and safety: • Reduced physical activity leading to psychosocial and musculoskeletal problems. Psychosocial and musculoskeletal problems caused by reduced physical activity, more static postures and higher mental work load (e.g. when monitoring and controlling); less privacy at work (as technology allows closer and more intrusive supervision); and more decision-making problems. • Increased risk of accidents resulting from human errors, especially in the case of high-risk industries, having the potential for serious consequences beyond the operator to include fellow workers, the wider community and environment. Because of the last 50 years of advancements in manufacturing technology, production processes are using machines which are increasingly powerful in terms of speed, quality, and flexibility. Linked to increasing mechanization and complexity is a growth in the use of computer-based automated systems in place of human operators to control highly complex technical systems. However, while computer-based systems offer greater reliability and the potential for greater control, they cannot at present match the flexibility of the human operator. It is computers’ inability to cope with unforeseen circumstances that makes the human operator indispensable in complex systems. Particularly at times of failure, systems depend on human operators’ intelligent, context-based thinking. Technological developments allow a great amount of information to be presented and combined and for many tasks to be carried out simultaneously. Consequently, operator tasks are frequently reduced to those of start up, monitoring and control of processes via digital media. Relatively small errors on the part of the operator have the potential for serious consequences, so additional safety systems are built in, which often result in the operator being overloaded with...
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