ASM Consortium releases alarm management guidelines

Abnormal Situation Management Consortium releases publication based on 15 years of research that showcases best practices for alarm management as developed by process manufacturers.
By Peter Welander October 2, 2009

The Abnormal Situation Management (ASM) Consortium has released the second in its series of best-practice publications based on 15 years of research in the prevention of abnormal situations. The group says that "Effective Alarm Management Practices" is written for operations managers, operators, process engineers, system design engineers, and safety and reliability engineers assigned the task of developing alarm management systems or rationalizing existing systems. It details alarm management best practices designed to reduce alarm floods and ensure that process operators can respond effectively to alarms.

Written and developed by the ASM Consortium, a group of 13 companies and universities, the publication is a compilation of field-proven end-user philosophies, processes and best practices identified by subject matter experts. The research details how well-designed alarm systems can help plant operators prevent abnormal situations from escalating or process upsets from occurring. It provides guidance for developing a culture of alarm management that includes management and alarm rationalization practices, and operator training.

These guidelines are designed to help manufacturers comply with requirements such as the ANSI/ISA-18.2-2009 Management of Alarm Systems for the Process Industries standard, which was recently approved by the International Society of Automation (ISA).

"The ASM guidelines provide further detail and implementation examples, as well as explanations of why each practice is important and how it relates to other practices," says Nicholas Sands, an experienced practitioner from DuPont and co-chair of ISA18, Instrument Signals and Alarms committee.

Peggy Hewitt, director of the ASM Consortium adds, "Today’s plant operators are often responsible for managing a manufacturing environment where several thousand alarms are configured. Because of the volume of alarms spread across a plant floor, it’s easy for an alarm system to cry wolf, so to speak. In an actual emergency, a false alarm can have a serious impact on a facility or workers if critical alarms are missed."

Visit the group’s Website for information about purchasing "Effective Alarm Management Practices" and future ASM Consortium research publications.

Read more about alarm management:

Managing alarms

Bringing nuisance alarms under control

 

-Edited by Peter Welander, process industries editor, PWelander@cfemedia.com
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