Many human factors issues are complex and difficult to quantify. However, one issue that is easy to calculate is the number of individuals required to cover a single operating position (24 hours a day, seven days a week). It is common for refineries to either (1) have excessively high overtime (greater than 20%) and/or (2) be unable to provide operators for special assignments or training. Does your operating area have enough relief/pool operators?
An application of the general formula to calculate total personnel is shown on a separate page, with the key variables of vacation, holidays, and sick time. You may try out the formula by downloading the excel file here.
Working from a target of percentage overtime, time available for non-shift activities (such as training) or double coverage on-shift (start-ups, turnarounds) can be determined. It is suggested that realistic numbers be used for all of the variables, such as vacation time. Keep in mind that as a workforce ages, average vacation time typically increases. Your human resources department should be able to give reasonable values for both vacation and average number of sick days. Hopefully, unrealistic overtime expectations can be quelled with a few simple calculations.
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This year's Fall meeting for the Center for Operator Performance will be October 24-26 in Corpus Christi. For more information, please contact Lisa Via. Guests are always welcome!
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David Strobhar's book, "Human Factors in Process Plant Operation," is now available in both hardcover and Kindle e-book.
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