From Wikipedia: Alarm management is the application of human factors (or ergonomics as the field is referred to outside the U.S.) along with instrumentation engineering and systems thinking to manage the design of an alarm system to increase its usability.
“Alarm” is defined by ANSI/ISA 18.2 as “an audible and/or visible means of indicating to the operator an equipment malfunction, process deviation, or abnormal condition requiring a response.”
Less is more…
You’ve heard the phrase ‘less is more.’ Such is the case with process control alarms. Operators use alarms to do their job, AKA run a process. Back in the day when we used panel boards and lights, there were costs and time associated with each and every alarm. Alarm Management was native to the process, but we didn’t even know we were doing it. With the invention of DCSs, SCADAs, and HMIs, adding alarms became fast, easy, and inexpensive. As a result, we’ve given Operators more data than they can handle. We’ve collectively forgotten ‘less is more.’