Proceedings of the

The 33rd European Safety and Reliability Conference (ESREL 2023)
3 – 8 September 2023, Southampton, UK

Combining Control Room Operator Task Load Analysis and Subjective Workload Assessment

Asgeir Drøivoldsmoa, Espen Nystadb and Jan Erik Farbrotc

Institute for Energy Technology, Norway.


This study presents and compares results from task load and subjective workload assessment in an offshore petroleum control room and a hydro and wind power control room, combining methods for subjective and analytical estimation of task load. Results from the task load estimates for both control rooms are coherent and indicates that the amount of planned work should not occupy more than a maximum of 75% of the time available on a shift, which is in line with observations from previous studies and literature. Use of the Subjective Workload Assessment Technique (SWAT) measures added additional insight regarding what type of new tasks the control rooms could undertake, depending on the control room staff's composition of competence and experience. The results from the studies were used as a judgment criterion to decide whether it was necessary to reallocate tasks within the control room or adjust the number of control room staff. Findings from the study were compared to recommendations from the literature and insights from the specific method use are discussed.

Keywords: Task load, Workload, Process industry, Task analysis, Function allocation, Analytic workload.

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