Operator Selection, Training & Competency


Connecting your business to the Technology resources you need

Operator Selection

Selection involves a range of activities:-

  • Advertising for applicants
  • Screening candidates
  • Testing
  • Interviewing
  • References

Identifying operators with the required training and competence to fill open positions can be challenging. You have to attract and identify candidates who have the right skills, capability to learn, and have the right personality attributes appropriate to the demands of the job. The selection process should be structured, documented, and unique to ensure you’ve selected the right people. Do you have a documented selection process methodology?

Operator Competence

Review your site against this checklist:

  • Job Performance Profiles are developed for each job position
  • Key Knowledge, Skills and Attributes, identified in the Job Performance Profiles, are used as the key selection criteria for new employees
  • Assessment tools are used to measure the potential employees against the key selection criteria
  • A well-defined training curriculum, based on the Job Performance Profiles, identifies the competency-based training required for a job position
  • The training methodologies utilized accommodate adult learning and facilitate the acquisition of the skills and knowledge that people need
  • Trainers are qualified in the subject matter and are certified to conduct training
  • Actual work instructions/procedures are the basis of on-the-job training
  • Current training/qualification records identify the training completed/needed and are used as the basis for task assignments (Never make a person do a job they’re not competent to do)
  • The competence of Supervisors and Managers is continually evaluated and improved
  • Lessons learned from major accidents/incidents are used to improve site training
  • Refresher training is routinely scheduled and conducted
  • Training and job competency are evaluated on an on-going basis
  • The selection, training and assessment system is changed based on the results of ongoing evaluations


A well-defined training system is critical to ensuring that each employee can perform at a predetermined standard. Training ensures that operators meet and continue to meet the required competency levels and contribute to organizational goals.

UCDS can assist you in developing training materials that are specific to your operating processes. These training materials often include:

  • Process Overview Training
  • Process System Training
  • Console Strategy Training

Our process is a proven development methodology. It incorporates several review steps to ensure the training
modules meet the appropriate standards of quality and content.

Operator Training

Module Design
This is an on-site review to determine the “look and feel” for each type of training module by reaching consensus on items such as learning objectives, level of detail, use of graphics, testing mechanisms, etc. Standardized templates to serve as guidance document for our technical writers.

Data Collection
Data collection consists of interviews with subject matter experts; researching P&IDs, process descriptions, and equipment information to gather the required technical information; and taking digital photos of equipment items to be incorporated into the training modules.

Training Module Development
Our technical writers analyze the collected data to extract specific information for the training modules. They then input the technical data into the approved template, develop the required graphics, and develop test questions. The material is then edited and returned to the customer for review.

Technical Review
The technical review is a formal validation of the technical data presented in the training module(s). Subject matter experts and UCDS personnel jointly review the material to determine the accuracy and adequacy of the data.

Technical review changes are incorporated into the modules and are edited for acceptance.


Operator – Selection, Training & Competence

well-defined training system is criticalHarry Williams – Harry has over 20 years of experience in evaluating, designing, and developing operator training programs. He has assembled a team of technical writers that can develop training materials in virtually any industry, including mining, refining, petrochemical, pulp and paper, and many more.
Harry previously worked for our good friend Jack Pankoff and TTS Performance Systems. Together, with Jack’s support, we developed NEW improved operator effectiveness practices. Everyone has management systems but few have systems that have a solid ROI and good Human Factors Engineering behind them. If your company wants to eliminate Human Error and improve Ergonomics while improving your Risk Control Systems we can help you develop Leading Indicators to supplement existing Lagging Indicators. Here at UCDS we continuously seek out best practices, provide continuous improvement and qualified staff with solid industrial experience.

User Centered Design Services, Inc. provides a full complement of services including consulting, control room design, HMI implementation, and training services to dramatically improve the operations in production facilities around the world.

© 2013 User Centered Design Services


UCDS has in-depth experience in designing control rooms and modifying existing field shelters. Our process is compliant with the ISO 11064 Ergonomic Design Standard for Control Buildings. We interview management, supervision and a significant group of the operators to understand functional requirements, what works well in the existing environment, and identification and correction of problems with the existing design. To learn more Click Here


Situation Awareness

Abnormal situations encompass a range of events outside the “normal” plant operating modes, e.g. trips, fires, explosions, toxic releases or just not reaching planned targets. In the past incidents such as Piper Alpha, Milford Haven, Flixborough, Texas City and the 2003 northeast electrical blackout have all been attributed, at least in part, to a fundamental lack of good situational awareness. Early work of the Abnormal Situation Management Consortium® included a survey of the US petrochemical industry. Based on their research the consortium estimates industry losses of around $20 billion per year from abnormal situations, approximately equal to the total annual profits of that industry. Furthermore these studies indicate that companies achieving Best Practices in operations can improve productivity by 5-12%. To learn more Click Here


Fatigue Alertness Management

We have many customers looking to enhance their shift handover procedures and follow some of the Recommended Practices identified in the API documents; others are focusing attention on fatigue and fatigue countermeasures. We have great solutions for both these topics. For more details please contact Steve Maddox. To learn more Click Here



User Centered Design Services promotes Behavior – Based Safety which is a process that helps employees identify and choose safe behavior over an unsafe one. Safety in the workplace is a combination of three measurable components – the person their environment, and their behavior. To learn more Click Here

About the Control Room Operator Performance Group

The purpose of this group is to share ideas and solutions that contribute to improving the performance of the control room operator. Abnormal situations can be managed safely and effectively if we provide our operators with the right training, workload, environment, and interfaces.