A poorly functioning alarm system is often noted as a contributing factor to the seriousness of upsets, incidents, and major accidents. Significant alarm system improvement is needed in most industries utilizing computer based SCADA or distributed control systems; it is a massively common and serious problem.
Most companies have become aware of the need to thoroughly investigate and understand their alarm system performance. Alarm management is a fast-growing, high profile topic in the process industries. It is the subject of constant articles in the trade journals and at various technical society meetings and symposia.
Seven Steps to a Highly Effective Alarm System
Here is a brief outline of a best practices approach in a typical alarm management project. These straightforward steps can be easily implemented in any work process framework, such as Six Sigma. The first three steps are universally needed for the improvement of an alarm system.
They are often done simultaneously at the start of a project.
Step 1: Develop, Adopt, and Maintain an Alarm Philosophy
Step 2: Collect Data and Benchmark Your Systems
Step 3: Perform Bad Actor Alarm Resolution
Step 4: Perform Alarm Documentation and Rationalization (D&R)
Step 5: Implement Alarm Audit and Enforcement Technology