Alarm Management References

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    • Leadership Participation in Alarm Standards Committees
    • Dedicated Alarm Management Focus
    • Comprehensive Alarm Management Software Solutions
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    • Flexible and Extensive Software Connectivity Portfolio
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Alarms are not the problem, they are a symptom

An important goal for effective plant operations is to minimize alarm activity. However there will be unexpected and undesirable situations that generate alarms. Good alarm management should provide clear, meaningful and timely alarm information so the operating team can respond successfully.

When alarms do occur, instead of fixating on the alarm, look for the underlying reason the alarm has become a problem. You may find that the alarm system has become the crutch for ineffective graphics or inadequate training. Once the alarm system is properly designed, other sources of information (better console graphics, improved ergonomics, updated training, etc.) should be in place to prompt action prior to an alarm.

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Alarm management is not rocket science

Alarm management is fundamentally a method of applying, or reapplying, basic site engineering and operating principles. It is helpful to understand the dynamics of alarm design and interaction, so there is a potential need to consult a ‚Äúsubject matter expert” in the education and project planning process. Once the project team is familiar with the process and procedures of alarm management, the remaining effort will consist of “turning the crank.”

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Alarm management is a continuous process

Alarm management should be integrated into everyday procedures because the physical and human assets in a plant are in a state of constant change. Over time, equipment and people age, weather and raw materials change. The alarm system is under dynamic stress from direct and indirect sources.

To prevent the dynamic environment from degrading an alarm system, it should be consistently monitored. Proposed changes should also be scrutinized through a management of change program.

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Successful alarm management is operations focused

The “end user” of alarms is the operator. Ultimately, development of alarm philosophies and execution of alarm management strategies is a team effort between Engineering, Operations, and Maintenance. Giving Operations a significant role in the alarm management process helps provide clarity in the control room and increases the value of alarms when they activate.

Most alarm management initiatives are data driven. Alarm improvements are prioritized through nuisance analysis or performance benchmarking. However, they can also be Operations driven, where the operating team identifies alarm issues through observation only – no data considered. In fact, even when data is used, the focus should be operator loading because the goal is improvement of the operator’s ability to respond to an abnormal trend.

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