Human control in mineral processing plants: An operator centered investigation

X. Li, T. Horberry, M. Powell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Mineral processing plants present a complex and dynamic process control environment where human operation is widely regarded as the bottleneck of overall plant performance. This paper presents an initial field study to investigate factors and issues that affect successful human performance in this domain from human factors perspective. The methods used were in-situ observation, interviews, survey and review of documentation. A total of 20 operators were studied at two different types of Australian mineral processing plants. The results indicate 1) current information in the control room was not effectively organized and presented in a way that supported human supervisory control activities, and 2) various organizational issues such as insufficient operator training and poor shift handover significantly impacted the quality of human control. As a result, human control inevitably fell into a typical passive mode. Even worse, controllers often distrusted or rejected the use of alarms and new technologies in their work place. This work demonstrates the successful case study of applying human factor research methods in a novel domain. The outcome of this field study has successfully stimulated new industry interest and support for further research aimed at improving human and system integration.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication54th Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting 2010, HFES 2010
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2010
EventInternational Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 2010 - San Francisco, United States of America
Duration: 27 Sept 20101 Oct 2010
Conference number: 54th


ConferenceInternational Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 2010
Abbreviated titleHFES 2010
Country/TerritoryUnited States of America
CitySan Francisco

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