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Safety Considerations in Human Engineering of Hyperbaric Equipment.

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Medical research progress rept.,

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Recent increased interest in deep ocean diving has been accompanied by a marked increase in the development of hyperbaric research in support of diving operations. This research is concentrated in a number of industrial, university, and Navy laboratories throughout the world, which have hyperbaric chamber complexes of varying capabilities. The deeper ones, with pressures to approximately 904 psi 2000 ft, are located at the University of Pennsylvania, Taylor Diving and Salvage of Louisiana, Duke University, and the U.S. Navy Experimental Diving Unit in Panama City, Florida. Recently installed and under current testing is a deep chamber at the Naval Medical Research Institute in Bethesda, which has manned capability of 1500 psi. Because human subjects are under hyperbaric pressure and are therefore subjected to marked physiological stress, there is a strong concern for system safety in the development, maintenance, and operation of such hyperbaric chamber complexes. Yet it has only been in recent years that the human engineering of hyperbaric chambers and supporting consoles has begun in a systematic fashion. The Defense and Civil Institute of Environmental Medicine in Toronto was one of the first to employ human engineering techniques. This presentation covers an analysis of human engineering problems associated with the complex at the hyperbaric research facility at the Naval Medical Research Institute. A systematic approach to these problems has demonstrated that proper human factors engineering optimizes operatorsystem performance, minimizes physiological costs to the operator, and can contribute to improved efficiency and safety.

Subject Categories:

  • Safety Engineering
  • Test Facilities, Equipment and Methods
  • Human Factors Engineering and Man Machine Systems

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