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Table 3 Human factors and corresponding management methods to deal with them

From: Production risk caused by human factors: a multiple case study of thermal power plants

Production risks caused by human factors Examples Relevant production sectors Human factors impacting the risk
Risk in raw materials selection If selected coal is of poor quality, such as containing too many impurities, the burden in the desulfuration, denitration and dedusting unit will be very strong and even cause the stoppage of power generation.” (A-SM-2) Purchase unit Working attitude; professional skills
Risk in equipment purchase Workers submit an application for an equipment purchase. When the application has been approved, workers in the purchase unit do the shopping, involving a series of comparisons. Some problems are not related with production safety, but with more production cost.” (D-MM-13) Purchase unit Working attitude; professional skills
Risk in equipment maintenance The most challenging part for equipment maintenance is to identify the root of problems. Sometimes, what has been picked up by automatic systems is not the real problem.” (D-FM-12) Maintenance unit Working attitude; professional skills; safety consciousness; efficiency of implementing orders; not following operation procedures; psychology and health conditions
Risk in abnormal situation treatment We are not at a high level of automation, and we still need humans to deal with abnormal situations. For example, when a series of parameters are abnormal, we need people to judge what the main problem is and deal with it first.” (D-FM-9) Water treatment unit; boiler unit; centralized control unit; desulfuration, denitration and dedusting unit Moving for other employers; working attitude; professional skills; safety consciousness; efficiency of implementing orders; not following operation procedures; psychology and health conditions
Risk in human-machine interfaces The higher level of automation makes the effects of mistakes in human-machine interfaces more serious.” (D-FM-10) Water treatment unit; boiler unit; centralized control unit; desulfuration, denitration and dedusting unit Working attitude; professional skills; safety consciousness; efficiency of implementing orders; not following operation procedures; psychology and health conditions
Risk in control-room monitoring Sometimes several alarms can happen in the monitor at the same time. If the worker is careless, he/she may just notice one of these alarms.” (D-MM-18) Water treatment unit; boiler unit; centralized control unit; desulfuration, denitration and dedusting unit Working attitude; professional skills; safety consciousness; efficiency of implementing orders; not following operation procedures; psychology and health conditions
Risk in ground inspection If ground inspection workers are careful and experienced enough, they can discover tiny issues and deal with them in time to stop them from becoming serious problems. Sometimes, they can even find out mistakes made by instruments.” (D-MM-16) Water treatment unit; boiler unit; centralized control unit; desulfuration, denitration and dedusting unit Moving for other employers; working attitude; professional skills; safety consciousness; efficiency of implementing orders; not following operation procedures; psychology and health conditions
Risk in technical improvements When workers find somewhere inconvenient, they will think about alternative ways. Normally they make applications first, and then apply he creative ideas for improvements in practice.” (C-MM-7) Water treatment unit; boiler unit; centralized control unit; desulfuration, denitration and dedusting unit Working attitude; creativity; professional skills
Risk in manual operation When facilities are adjusted, we need workers’ manual operation in some procedures. And manual operation is also needed for resetting some facilities.” (C-MM-8) Water treatment unit; boiler unit; centralized control unit; desulfuration, denitration and dedusting unit Working attitude; professional skills; safety consciousness; efficiency of implementing orders; not following operation procedures; psychology and health conditions
Risk in environmental conservation decisions They need to decide when to turn up or turn down the flow of supplied water. If they turn it down in time, water can be saved. Otherwise, they are wasting water.” (D-FM-11) Water treatment unit; boiler unit; centralized control unit; desulfuration, denitration and dedusting unit Sense of environmental conservation