Avoiding alarm management mistakes

Dec. 15, 2005
This article examines common mistakes made by others and recommends a methodology for implementing an effective alarm management project that will make your plant and personnel more productive.

Sam Levenson said, “You must learn from the mistakes of others. You can't possibly live long enough to make them all yourself.” When it comes to alarm management, Levenson is correct. Ineffective alarm systems pose a serious risk to safety, the environment, and plant profitability. Too often, alarm system effectiveness is unknowingly undermined by poorly configured alarms. Static alarm settings can’t adapt to dynamic plant conditions and many other nuisances result in alarm floods that overwhelm operators just when they most need concise direction.

Operators and engineers in the process control industry have become increasingly aware of the value that alarm management solutions offer. Alarm systems are the primary tool for identifying abnormal situations and helping plant personnel take timely, appropriate action to move the process back to operational targets.

As alarm management solutions become more common, our understanding of the factors that impede their success has grown. If you’re thinking of undertaking an alarm management solution, or if you have already started one, the following information based on lessons learned, can help drive your project to success.

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