MOTOR FUNCTIONS

In control room work, demands on motor functions are relatively small. Specialised control rooms such as cockpits on aircraft or bridges on ships have very particular operator requirements. Motor tasks comprise the turning of levers and wheels, fill­ing in forms, pressing keys on a keyboard, and dialling (telephones). As seen from Chapter 5, there are also ergonomic guidelines for how different types of control devices should be designed in order to suit the majority of people. In certain cases the operators need to make fine adjustments. There is often plenty of time in which to do such tasks. One can thus make sure that the control device has sufficient gear­ing for fine adjustments to be made without too great a motor demand. Some types of work on VDU screens also demand fine adjustments for the positioning of cursors.

In these cases, too, the ‘gearing’ should also be sufficiently large so that not too great a motor demand is made.

Concrete recommendations on these points are given in Chapter 5. Where rapid movements and fast reactions are required, the muscles work in a different way from slow movements. Keyboards and press-buttons are thus better than wheels and levers where fast control manoeuvres have to be carried out.

Training of motor functions requires mainly practical training in simulators or in real on-the-job situations. Many modern control rooms rely completely on the use of ordinary computer keyboards. In most situations this might be acceptable. How­ever, one important disadvantage with keyboards is the lack of qualitative sensory motor feedback (the only feedback they provide is done/not done). In high workload and critical or emergency situations, this can become very important. Training in rare and critical situations demanding sensory motor actions should preferably be done in simulators and by the use of specially designed controls that are capable of providing sensory motor feedback.

REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING

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