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If an organization has an alarm system associated with a control system, they might think it’s a set-it-and-forget proposition. It isn’t. Why is alarm management important? Alarm management is just as important as the alarms themselves because it ensures that operators can rely on the alarms that drive their actions. This allows them to feel confident that everything is working how it should be.

Let’s take a closer look into why alarm management is so crucial to day-to-day operations.

What exactly is alarm management?

Alarm management covers the entire lifespan of an alarm system, from design to maintenance to updates. It helps classify and prioritize alarms in a more efficient, user-friendly way so operators respond to the real, most important alarms in a timely manner. In other words, alarms are designed to alert operators of abnormal conditions, and alarm management helps ensure that those alarms are optimized. As a result, employees spend less time chasing false alarms or ignoring urgent ones.

What are the benefits of alarm management?

An alarm system is only effective when operators know they can trust it. Alarm management enables that trust. But why is alarm management important for this trust?

False alarms are more than a distraction. They teach operators that they can ignore alarms without any consequences. After all, in a busy workplace, operators are often bombarded with lots of information. The alarm system is only one part of that. If they become conditioned to ignore alarms that are usually false, will they know when an alarm is actually important enough to demand immediate attention?

An operator with too many false alarms to deal with might fail to recognize an urgent alarm when it happens. In fact, operator error costs the economy billions of dollars every year.

Fortunately, alarm management saves time and money by preventing these errors. An alarm system that’s designed to work for an organization will increase efficiency and allow operators to be more productive.

A well-maintained alarm system is an asset operators know they can trust. Alarm management provides helpful diagnostic information that can alert workers to a problem before it becomes a crisis. For example, if there’s one piece of equipment that keeps tripping an alarm, it may be time to check or replace it.

Additionally, alarm management is essential for a safe workplace. After all, the most important part of any organization is its people. Operators trust their health and safety to alarm systems every day, whether it’s a smoke detector in an office building or a blow-out protection system on an oil rig. Alarm management makes sure the alarm system is working as it’s supposed to and filters through the most important alarms to ensure that operators address them quickly.

Why is alarm management important? Here are the risks of forgoing it

In the absence of alarm management, operators will have to deal with:

    1. Inefficiency and lost time. With no system for prioritizing and responding to alarms efficiently, operators lose valuable response time.
    2. Alarm flooding. Overwhelming information leads to fatigue and hurts productivity.
    3. Workplace stress. Alarms are supposed to call people to action, but too many can cause burnout and lead to employee turnover.
    4. Serious mistakes. Without alarm management, operators could potentially miss hazardous events when they occur. Even if the alarm is triggered, operators might be so distracted by other, less important alarms to respond.

Most importantly, a faulty alarm system also encourages bad behavior. Operators may turn off alarms that routinely go off when they’re not supposed to. That means those alarms won’t be on when an abnormal event actually happens.This can be especially dangerous in the context of hospital or manufacturing environments, where an alarm management failure not only causes property damage but also carries serious health risks

Getting started with alarm management

Why is alarm management important? The benefits are clear. If you’re ready to get the most out of your alarm system, now is the time to start a management program in your organization.

The experts at TiPS Incorporated can help you through every phase of alarm management. TiPS offers services such as alarm philosophy development, alarm rationalization and training. With over 30 years of experience, TiPS can help your organization meet its objectives while maintaining industry standards or better. TiPS also offers alarm management software like LogMate® to capture, consolidate and display alarm information clearly and concisely. If you’re ready to take your alarm management to the next level, reach out to the experts at TiPS Incorporated today.