Visual Ergonomics in Control Rooms – An Example of Creativity in Practice

  • Jennifer LongEmail author
  • Russell Ockendon
  • Fiona McDonald
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 827)


Control rooms are used in a variety of industries. Digital displays are often prominent as wallboards (overviews) and as multiple desktop displays. If the displays are not optimally configured for the work tasks and lines of sight, then individuals can develop visual and physical discomfort, and there may be adverse effects on work flow. This business case study reports the process used by an architect-ergonomist team to provide very early schematic design advice for 15 control rooms in which visual ergonomics was an integral component. End users were engaged in the design process by blending the requirements of ISO11064 for the conceptual design of control rooms with a modified participatory ergonomics approach. The principle observation is that the process engenders greater ownership of the design by the end users and pride in their new workplace when the control room is built. Engaging end users in the schematic design process also provides an opportunity for developing creative solutions to visual ergonomics design problems.


Control rooms Visual ergonomics ISO 11064 Participatory ergonomics 


  1. 1.
    Szeto G, Sham K (2008) The effects of angled positions of computer display screen on muscle activities of the neck-shoulder stabilizers. Int J Ind Ergon 38:9–17CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ripple P (1952) Variation in accommodation in vertical directions of gaze. Am J Ophthalmol 35:1631–1634CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Burgess-Limerick R, Mon-Williams M, Coppard V (2000) Visual display height. Hum Factors 42(1):140–150CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    International Standards Organisation ISO 11064-1:2000 Ergonomic design of control centres- Part 1: Principles for the design of control centres. International Standards Organisation, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Falcao C, Soares M (2012) Ergonomic evaluation of the environment: a case study in a control room of the hydroelectric sector. Work 41:1449–1456Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Wilson J (1995) Solution ownership in participatory work redesign: the case of a crane control room. Int J Ind Ergon 15:329–344CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Shuman G, Walker-Peek S, Elbert G (2002) Centralized control room operates five process units. Hydrocarb Process 2002:43–46Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Cordiner L, Graves R (1997) Ergonomic intervention during a gas processing plant refurbishment. Int J Ind Ergon 19:457–470CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Burgess-Limerick R (2018) Participatory ergonomics: evidence and implementation lessons. Appl Ergon 68:289–293CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Skrehot P, Marek J, Houser F (2016) Ergonomics aspects in control rooms. Theor Issues Ergon Sci 18:46–58. Scholar
  11. 11.
    Graves V (2010) Ergonomic control room design improves operator comfort and safety. Power Eng 114:50–52Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Long J, Helland M (2012) A multidisciplinary approach to solving computer related vision problems. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt 32:429–435CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Bittencourt J, Duarte F, Beguin P (2017) From the past to the future: integrating work experience into the design process. Work 57:379–387CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Seim R, Broberg O (2010) Participatory workspace design: a new approach for ergonomics? Int J Ind Ergon 40:25–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Zamberlan M et al (2012) DHM simulation in virtual environments: a case-study on control room design. Work 41:2243–2247Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia (2015) Sedentary behaviour: HFESA position on prolonged unbroken sitting time. Accessed 25 May 2018
  17. 17.
    Robbins R (2009) State-of-the-art control rooms. Control Eng 39–41Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Hellen R (2014) Upgraded control room consoles improve ergonomics. Power 20–21Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Hollifield B et al (2008) The High Performance HMI Handbook, 1st edn. Houston, PASGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer Long
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Russell Ockendon
    • 3
  • Fiona McDonald
    • 4
  1. 1.Jennifer Long Visual ErgonomicsKatoombaAustralia
  2. 2.School of Optometry and Vision ScienceUNSW SydneyKensingtonAustralia
  3. 3.Control Centres AustraliaNewcastleAustralia
  4. 4.Absolute Injury SolutionsNewcastleAustralia

Personalised recommendations