A Plant Simulator To Enhance the Process Safety of Industrial Operators

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The significant effect of human errors on the operation of industrial processes calls for improved methodologies and tools to train both control-room and field operators. Common operator-training simulators (OTSs) meet almost exclusively the training needs of control-room operators. As for field operators, little has been carried out to improve their training level. The paper presents and discusses a solution for immersive training of industrial operators that allows experiencing the multifaceted scenarios of real-plant operations.


Although in recent years some causes of industrial accidents have been mitigated, the overall number of accidents per year is growing. Human error is one of the main reasons for accidents in all industries, including the process industry. Process safety is still a relatively young and underdeveloped field, for both research and academia. In recent decades, the chemical industry has faced numerous accidents, from near misses to major disasters. Unfortunately, in that domain, compared with other fields such as aviation and medicine, there is a lesser focus on safety aspects. Contribution of human error to industrial accidents is reported to be in the range of 60 to 80%. A timely response to the incident/accident can reduce the escalation of the incident/accident itself and limit possible damage. Even an abnormal shutdown can result in significant financial losses to the industry. In addition, restart procedures are inherently hazardous and time consuming. Therefore, approaching industrial safety in terms of operator-performance improvement is one viable way to overcome, or at least reduce, the number and effect of accidents. The authors have designed a plant simulator (PS) as a training and performance-assessment tool implemented in a virtual environment.

This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper SPE 164992, “A Plant Simulator To Enhance the Process Safety of Industrial Operators,” by Davide Manca, Simone Colombo, and Salman Nazir, Politecnico di Milano, prepared for the 2013 SPE European HSE Conference and Exhibition, London, 16–18 April. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
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A Plant Simulator To Enhance the Process Safety of Industrial Operators

01 December 2014

Volume: 66 | Issue: 12


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