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Title: Design Guidance for Computer-Based Procedures for Field Workers

Abstract

Nearly all activities that involve human interaction with nuclear power plant systems are guided by procedures, instructions, or checklists. Paper-based procedures (PBPs) currently used by most utilities have a demonstrated history of ensuring safety; however, improving procedure use could yield significant savings in increased efficiency, as well as improved safety through human performance gains. The nuclear industry is constantly trying to find ways to decrease human error rates, especially human error rates associated with procedure use. As a step toward the goal of improving field workers’ procedure use and adherence and hence improve human performance and overall system reliability, the U.S. Department of Energy Light Water Reactor Sustainability (LWRS) Program researchers, together with the nuclear industry, have been investigating the possibility and feasibility of replacing current paper-based procedures with computer-based procedures (CBPs). PBPs have ensured safe operation of plants for decades, but limitations in paper-based systems do not allow them to reach the full potential for procedures to prevent human errors. The environment in a nuclear power plant is constantly changing, depending on current plant status and operating mode. PBPs, which are static by nature, are being applied to a constantly changing context. This constraint often results in PBPs thatmore » are written in a manner that is intended to cover many potential operating scenarios. Hence, the procedure layout forces the operator to search through a large amount of irrelevant information to locate the pieces of information relevant for the task and situation at hand, which has potential consequences of taking up valuable time when operators must be responding to the situation, and potentially leading operators down an incorrect response path. Other challenges related to use of PBPs are management of multiple procedures, place-keeping, finding the correct procedure for a task, and relying on other sources of additional information to ensure a functional and accurate understanding of the current plant status (Converse, 1995; Fink, Killian, Hanes, and Naser, 2009; Le Blanc, Oxstrand, and Waicosky, 2012). This report provides design guidance to be used when designing the human-system interaction and the design of the graphical user interface for a CBP system. The guidance is based on human factors research related to the design and usability of CBPs conducted by Idaho National Laboratory, 2012 - 2016.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1]
  1. Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE)
OSTI Identifier:
1344173
Report Number(s):
INL/EXT-16-39808
DOE Contract Number:
AC07-05ID14517
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; 97 MATHEMATICS AND COMPUTING; computer-based procedures

Citation Formats

Oxstrand, Johanna, Le Blanc, Katya, and Bly, Aaron. Design Guidance for Computer-Based Procedures for Field Workers. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.2172/1344173.
Oxstrand, Johanna, Le Blanc, Katya, & Bly, Aaron. Design Guidance for Computer-Based Procedures for Field Workers. United States. doi:10.2172/1344173.
Oxstrand, Johanna, Le Blanc, Katya, and Bly, Aaron. 2016. "Design Guidance for Computer-Based Procedures for Field Workers". United States. doi:10.2172/1344173. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1344173.
@article{osti_1344173,
title = {Design Guidance for Computer-Based Procedures for Field Workers},
author = {Oxstrand, Johanna and Le Blanc, Katya and Bly, Aaron},
abstractNote = {Nearly all activities that involve human interaction with nuclear power plant systems are guided by procedures, instructions, or checklists. Paper-based procedures (PBPs) currently used by most utilities have a demonstrated history of ensuring safety; however, improving procedure use could yield significant savings in increased efficiency, as well as improved safety through human performance gains. The nuclear industry is constantly trying to find ways to decrease human error rates, especially human error rates associated with procedure use. As a step toward the goal of improving field workers’ procedure use and adherence and hence improve human performance and overall system reliability, the U.S. Department of Energy Light Water Reactor Sustainability (LWRS) Program researchers, together with the nuclear industry, have been investigating the possibility and feasibility of replacing current paper-based procedures with computer-based procedures (CBPs). PBPs have ensured safe operation of plants for decades, but limitations in paper-based systems do not allow them to reach the full potential for procedures to prevent human errors. The environment in a nuclear power plant is constantly changing, depending on current plant status and operating mode. PBPs, which are static by nature, are being applied to a constantly changing context. This constraint often results in PBPs that are written in a manner that is intended to cover many potential operating scenarios. Hence, the procedure layout forces the operator to search through a large amount of irrelevant information to locate the pieces of information relevant for the task and situation at hand, which has potential consequences of taking up valuable time when operators must be responding to the situation, and potentially leading operators down an incorrect response path. Other challenges related to use of PBPs are management of multiple procedures, place-keeping, finding the correct procedure for a task, and relying on other sources of additional information to ensure a functional and accurate understanding of the current plant status (Converse, 1995; Fink, Killian, Hanes, and Naser, 2009; Le Blanc, Oxstrand, and Waicosky, 2012). This report provides design guidance to be used when designing the human-system interaction and the design of the graphical user interface for a CBP system. The guidance is based on human factors research related to the design and usability of CBPs conducted by Idaho National Laboratory, 2012 - 2016.},
doi = {10.2172/1344173},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2016,
month = 9
}

Technical Report:

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  • The paper-based procedures currently used for nearly all activities in the commercial nuclear power industry have a long history of ensuring safe operation of the plants. However, there is potential to greatly increase efficiency and safety by improving how the human interacts with the procedures, which can be achieved through the use of computer-based procedures (CBPs). A CBP system offers a vast variety of improvements, such as context driven job aids, integrated human performance tools and dynamic step presentation. As a step toward the goal of improving procedure use performance, the U.S. Department of Energy Light Water Reactor Sustainability Programmore » researchers, together with the nuclear industry, have been investigating the possibility and feasibility of replacing current paper-based procedures with CBPs. The main purpose of the CBP research conducted at the Idaho National Laboratory was to provide design guidance to the nuclear industry to be used by both utilities and vendors. After studying existing design guidance for CBP systems, the researchers concluded that the majority of the existing guidance is intended for control room CBP systems, and does not necessarily address the challenges of designing CBP systems for instructions carried out in the field. Further, the guidance is often presented on a high level, which leaves the designer to interpret what is meant by the guidance and how to specifically implement it. The authors developed a design guidance to provide guidance specifically tailored to instructions that are carried out in the field based.« less
  • The nuclear industry is constantly trying to find ways to decrease the human error rate, especially the human errors associated with procedure use. As a step toward the goal of improving procedure use performance, researchers, together with the nuclear industry, have been looking at replacing the current paper-based procedures with computer-based procedure systems. The concept of computer-based procedures is not new by any means; however most research has focused on procedures used in the main control room. Procedures reviewed in these efforts are mainly emergency operating procedures and normal operating procedures. Based on lessons learned for these previous efforts wemore » are now exploring a more unknown application for computer based procedures - field procedures, i.e. procedures used by nuclear equipment operators and maintenance technicians. The Idaho National Laboratory and participants from the U.S. commercial nuclear industry are collaborating in an applied research effort with the objective of developing requirements and specifications for a computer-based procedure system to be used by field workers. The goal is to identify the types of human errors that can be mitigated by using computer-based procedures and how to best design the computer-based procedures to do so. This paper describes the development of a Model of Procedure Use and the qualitative study on which the model is based. The study was conducted in collaboration with four nuclear utilities and five research institutes. During the qualitative study and the model development requirements and for computer-based procedures were identified.« less
  • The Idaho National Laboratory (INL) computer-based procedure (CBP) research team is exploring how best to design a CBP system that will deliver the intended benefits of increased efficiency and improved human performance. It is important to note that no “off-the-shelf” technology exists for the type of CBP system that is investigated and developed by the INL researchers. As more technology is integrated into the procedure process the importance of an appropriate and methodological approach to the design of the procedure system increases. Technological advancements offer great opportunities for efficiency and safety gains, however if the system is not designed correctlymore » there is a large risk of unintentionally introducing new opportunities for human errors. The INL research team is breaking new ground in the area of CBPs with the prototype they have developed. Current electronic procedure systems are most commonly electronic versions of the paper-based procedures with hyperlinks to other procedures, limited user input functionality, and the ability to mark steps completed. These systems do not fully exploit the advantages digital technology. It is a part of the INL researchers’ role to develop and validate new CBP technologies that greatly increase the benefits of a CBP system to the nuclear industry.« less
  • The Computer-Based Procedure (CBP) research effort is a part of the Light-Water Reactor Sustainability (LWRS) Program, which provides the technical foundations for licensing and managing the long-term, safe, and economical operation of current nuclear power plants. One of the primary missions of the LWRS program is to help the U.S. nuclear industry adopt new technologies and engineering solutions that facilitate the continued safe operation of the plants and extension of the current operating licenses. One area that could yield tremendous savings in increased efficiency and safety is in improving procedure use. A CBP provides the opportunity to incorporate context-driven jobmore » aids, such as drawings, photos, and just-in-time training. The presentation of information in CBPs can be much more flexible and tailored to the task, actual plant condition, and operation mode. The dynamic presentation of the procedure will guide the user down the path of relevant steps, thus minimizing time spent by the field worker to evaluate plant conditions and decisions related to the applicability of each step. This dynamic presentation of the procedure also minimizes the risk of conducting steps out of order and/or incorrectly assessed applicability of steps. This report provides a summary of the main research activities conducted in the Computer-Based Procedures for Field Workers effort since 2012. The main focus of the report is on the research activities conducted in fiscal year 2016. The activities discussed are the Nuclear Electronic Work Packages – Enterprise Requirements initiative, the development of a design guidance for CBPs (which compiles all insights gained through the years of CBP research), the facilitation of vendor studies at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) Advanced Test Reactor (ATR), a pilot study for how to enhance the plant design modification work process, the collection of feedback from a field evaluation study at Plant Vogtle, and path forward to commercialize INL’s CBP system.« less
  • The Computer-Based Procedure (CBP) research effort is a part of the Light-Water Reactor Sustainability (LWRS) Program, which is a research and development (R&D) program sponsored by Department of Energy (DOE) and performed in close collaboration with industry R&D programs that provides the technical foundations for licensing and managing the long-term, safe, and economical operation of current nuclear power plants. One of the primary missions of the LWRS program is to help the U.S. nuclear industry adopt new technologies and engineering solutions that facilitate the continued safe operation of the plants and extension of the current operating licenses. One area thatmore » could yield tremendous savings in increased efficiency and safety is in improving procedure use. Nearly all activities in the nuclear power industry are guided by procedures, which today are printed and executed on paper. This paper-based procedure process has proven to ensure safety; however, there are improvements to be gained. Due to its inherent dynamic nature, a CBP provides the opportunity to incorporate context driven job aids, such as drawings, photos, and just-in-time training. Compared to the static state of paper-based procedures (PBPs), the presentation of information in CBPs can be much more flexible and tailored to the task, actual plant condition, and operation mode. The dynamic presentation of the procedure will guide the user down the path of relevant steps, thus minimizing time spent by the field worker to evaluate plant conditions and decisions related to the applicability of each step. This dynamic presentation of the procedure also minimizes the risk of conducting steps out of order and/or incorrectly assessed applicability of steps.« less