Human Factors Topic: AUTOMATION

Why is the topic of automation important?Automation

People and machines are inherently better at different tasks. Proper allocation of tasks between the two is critical to ensure adequate operator workload, while enabling the operator to still oversee/interact with the automated system when needed.

Increased automation obviously limits the operators’ interaction with the process, which can have a long-term impact on their skills and knowledge of the process.



  • Do operator skills degrade with advanced control/automation?
  • In quantifiable measures, how much does safe-park help in an upset?
  • When does automation interfere with operator performance?

Do you have a question or hot button issue that isn’t on our list?
We’d like to hear from you so send us an email with your concerns and suggestions.


  • Review the Completed Projects and Current Work of the Center on ways to enhance operator performance. Members can access project reports in the Members-Only Section.
  • News Release: New event detection tool 90% faster than traditional
    Research by Center for Operator Performance shows potential to prevent incidents from occurring
    Publication: July 21, 2014, Access News Release (509KB PDF)
  • Control Systems, Oh, No…Not Again!
    The Process Industries Have Been Faced with a Continuing Series of Refinery, Chemical Plant, Mining and Even Food Plant Disasters. These Continue to Happen with Distressing Regularity. Who’s at Fault? It’s the Culture, Not the Control Systems.
    Author: Walt Boyes
    Publication:, April 2010, Access Article
  • Build Operator Expertise Faster
    Following a few do’s and don’t can significantly speed learning.
    Authors: David A. Strobhar, Beville Engineering, and Danyele Harris-Thompson, Klein Associates
    Publication: Chemical Processing, December 2009, Access Article
  • How Good is Your Operator’s Mental Model?
    Author: Martin Berutti, December 2009, Access Mynah Website Article