PRISM - Focus Group 3

Human factors in high demand situations

This Focus Group will examine topics such as:
  • diagnosis of process upsets
  • cognitive (alarm) overload
  • emergency response
  • control room layout
  • abnormal situation management
This Focus Group will be lead by TNO and Politecnico di Milano as Principal Contractors, in conjunction with BASF and ATOFINA as End User Advisors. The topics and deliverables will focus, in the first instance, on:
  • workload, stress and work environment
  • information (alarm) overload
  • emergency procedures
  • application of virtual reality to human factors
  • resource deployment
  • the human in the emergency loop
  • human biases in high demand situations (cognitive lock-up, time perception)
  • user interfaces, computer support and automation
The aim of this Focus Group will be to provide a coherent set of high-level guidelines for addressing human limitations in high demand situations during the development and operation of process industry plant.
The Principal Contractors

Mark Neerincx will be the TNO project manager for this project. He worked at the TNO Institute of Preventive Health Care, the University of Leiden and the University of Amsterdam and, from 1995, he is research scientist at TNO Human Factors. Mark Neerincx conducted several studies on the harmonisation of tasks to human knowledge and capacities, resulting in a method for cognitive task load analysis and the design of cognitive support. Mark conducted research on human task performance in high demand situations in the domains of railways, defence, ship control and aerospace. A junior scientist will assist in the preparation of meetings, assembling of information, and analysis and publication of results.


The TNO Human Factors Research Institute is a research laboratory belonging to one of the largest European research organisations, the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific research TNO. TNO employs more than 4,000 staff, working in 15 institutes in various places throughout The Netherlands. The expertise of the Institute covers the field of perception, physiology, human information processing and ergonomics. Projects are carried out for both military and civil sponsors. Main resource of the Institute is the know-how of individual researchers, and groups of researchers, specialised in a wide variety of research areas. The scientific level is reflected in the annual list of publications and by the fact that presently six senior researchers are also holding a professorship at one of the Dutch Universities. TNO-HFRI holds the Quality Certificate ISO 9001.

TNO will lead Work Package 3 on Human factors in high-demand situations.

In addition, Dr Simone Colombo of the Politecnico di Milano will be leading work on the use of Virtual Reality in high demand situations.

End User Advisors

The End User advisor for Focus Group 3 is Jose Herbaux of Atofina.