Study demonstrates ability to empirically test procedure design improvement

Jan. 26, 2017
The Center for Operator Performance and Texas A&M University Health Science Center completed a study evaluating effectiveness of warning symbols.

The Center for Operator Performance, a collaboration of operating companies and Distributed Control System suppliers, and Dr. Camille Peres of Texas A&M University Health Science Center have finished a feasibility study to evaluate the effectiveness of warning symbols in procedures.

According to a release from the center, the team used a virtual environment where compliance with safety instructions were evaluated for different symbol designs and populations. Trainees completed one-page procedures in a virtual warehouse, with each procedure having a warning box with a description and a symbol for the nature of the hazard, the risk to the worker, and/or the safety measures that should be taken. Compliance with the steps varied with each procedure, but did not for the warning symbols.

For the center, this study demonstrates the ability to test improvements in procedure design.  Nearly 40 percent of the subjects failed to follow some form of written warning during the tests. Future studies hope to examine both the formatting of the procedure as well as job-related factors affecting procedure use.

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