Why are procedures and job aids important?Procedures

Procedures have grown in importance and length due to recent industry events, which magnifies the need to have the correct information, yet inhibits the ability to easily change and update them. Required by OSHA29 CFR 1910.119, it is imperative that facilities find a way to maintain these documents.

What started as a COP project investigating retention of knowledge from retiring operators has evolved into the development of a procedure development tool that promises to save hundreds of man-hours for procedure development and maintenance. This important project is currently in progress at Penn State University.


  • How can the use of PDAs improve field operator performance?
  • Does procedure use improve performance?
  • How should procedures be integrated with training, automation? How does this vary with content and format?
  • When can hand-held devices improve performance?
  • How much of procedure automation is good? All, some, none? (ISA106)
  • Can a checklist be created to evaluate control room human factors?
  • What are the alternatives/differences in information needs for batch, continuous, machine control?
  • When does information overload occur?

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.
  • Plants Grapple with Graying Staff Retaining expertise and know-how remains a crucial issue
    Author: Seán Ottewell
    Publication: Chemical Processing, July 29, 2015, Access: Article
  • Bring Your Procedures into the 21st Century Switching to a modular approach offers substantial ongoing benefits
    Author: Dave Strobhar
    Publication: Chemical Processing, July 21, 2015, Access: Article
  • Semantic Procedure Analysis:Modularizing Operating Procedures for More Efficient Use and Comprehensive Updating
    American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers Annual Meeting, Orlando FL, March 25, 2014
    Presentation by Thomas Kindervater, PE
    Access Presentation (1.3MB PPTX)
  • The Keys to Operator Performance Operator Error Rates Double on the Ninth Day of Work After Eight Days of Consistent Performance
    Recap of several interesting findings from ongoing COP projects with Penn State University, Louisiana State University, and Klein Associates
    Author: Aaron Hand
    Publication: Control Design, May 2012, Access Article
  • How to Build a Better Operator Collaborative Research Effort Looks for Keys to Improved Effectiveness
    A summary of the Center for Operator Performance presentations at ABB Automation & Power World
    Author: Aaron Hand
    Publication: Control Design, April 2012, Access Article
  • DCS Console Operator Issues in Related Industries
    2011 TAPPI PEERS Conference, Portland OR, Oct 2-5 2011
    Presentation by David A Strobhar, PE
    Access Presentation (1.7MB PDF), Paper (20KB PDF)
  • Modularizing Emergency Procedures for Increased Ease of Use and Updating
    NPRA 2011 Annual Meeting, product # AM-11-44
    Presentation by David A Strobhar, PE, Sandeep Purao, Ph.D., and Jingwen He
    Access Presentation (1.1MB PDF), Paper (602KB PDF)
  • Service Extraction from Operator Procedures in Process Industries
    2011 DESRIST Conference, Purchase PDF
  • Audio Interview: Man & Machine: Procedures for Protecting Plants and Refineries
    Intellirights audio recording of an interview with David Strobhar (9:33 minutes)
  • David Strobhar: Breaking Down Human Language
    This is a Featured Audio interview with David Strobhar (6 minutes). Access Recording
  • Center for Operator Performance Presentation at NPRA Meeting in San Antonio, Texas, March 20-22, 2011.
    This is a Featured Audio interview with David Strobhar (5:24 minutes). Access Recording