Effective alarm management is critical for the safe and efficient operation of industrial processes. Inaccurate or poorly managed alarms can cause operator fatigue, reduce operator performance, and increase the likelihood of missed alarms. The International Society of Automation (ISA) provides guidance on effective alarm management through their standard ISA 18.2, Management of Alarm Systems for the Process Industries, which covers the design, implementation, and maintenance of alarm systems.
Identifying and Analyzing
One important aspect of effective alarm management is bad actor analysis, which involves identifying and mitigating the causes of nuisance alarms and other alarm-related problems. Bad actors are alarms that are frequently or consistently activated by specific conditions or events that are not true indications of a problem.
Examples include alarms with incorrectly configured set points or dead bands. Such alarms are known causes of operator fatigue, increase the likelihood of missed alarms, and reduce the overall effectiveness and reliability of the alarm system.
LogMate is a powerful alarm management software platform that provides tools for monitoring and analyzing control system data in either a historical context or in real-time. LogMate is an effective tool for conducting bad actor analysis because it provides tools for collecting alarm data, identifying patterns and trends, and highlighting potential bad actors.
One of the key benefits of control teams using LogMate is that it identifies bad actors in a more timely and efficient manner than any manual analysis approach could achieve. By analyzing large volumes of data, the LogMate ACE module identifies patterns and trends that may be missed by manual analysis, allowing operators to take action more quickly and effectively. Additionally, the LogMate TRAC module provides trending and tracking ability on bad actors, monitoring the effectiveness of mitigation strategies over time.
Verified Information Drives Decision-making
The results of these analyses are obviously intended to highlight potential bad actors, but the realized utility of LogMate is its ability to provide insight into surrounding events and trigger conditions that contributed to the overall problem. Once identified, control teams have supporting information to then conduct root cause analysis to further discover underlying causes of the problem.
A variety of studies have been performed over the past two decades that come to the similar conclusion that an estimated 80% of reported incidents can be traced to about 20% of annunciated alarms, many of them being false or unnecessary. Completing this analysis is what ultimately reduces the frequency of bad actors and positively impacts the overall effectiveness of and trust in the alarm system.
Effective alarm management is not just a requirement, but also critical for the safe and efficient operation of industrial processes. Identifying bad actors is an important component of this process. Contact TiPS to discuss your control team’s current situation, and see how others use LogMate to improve performance, trust, and safety in their processes.