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Alarm performance benchmarks are typically designed to measure the effect of alarm activity on operator performance. Human factors research clearly states that too much information is just as harmful as too little. In the context of process alarms, that realization generates the need for a way to determine the “sweet spot” between too many alarms (too much information), and too few.

In addition to alarm activity metrics used to find the “right” amount of alarm activity, there are other classes of metrics that accurately expose shortcomings in alarm design and implementation or those having little or no operational value. Using a good mix of all types of alarm performance metrics builds a better foundation from which to evaluate the performance, health, and value of an alarm system.