Alarm management

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Understanding Alarm Management

Process alarm systems commonly suffer from operational difficulties such as nuisance alarms, spurious alarms and alarm floods. An Alarm Management system, compliant with IEC 62682 or ISA 18.2, and in line with the guidelines in EEMUA 191, can address these issues and ensure the alarm system meets its objective as a risk reduction measure.

Alarm Philosophy Document

The heart of a well-developed alarm management system is the alarm philosophy document (APD), which provides a detailed, site-specific definition of the alarm system itself, how it is managed and operated, and how its performance is to be measured and optimized. This key document, often substantial in length, is essential before any other alarm management work can take place.

xSeriCon’s consultancy team have prepared APDs for numerous clients and sites. Leveraging our wide experience, we can:

  • develop a specific APD for you, based on meetings and discussions on your preferred alarm management solutions
  • review and perform gap analysis on your existing APD, to compare it with industry best practice, aiming for a result that is both workable and standards-compliant
  • provide a detailed APD template that guides you through the process of developing an in-house APD by yourself

Alarm Management

The state of the art in alarm management is covered in standards IEC 62682, ISA 18.2 and in guidelines EEMUA 191. These employ a lifecycle approach, in which the alarm system is initially documented and set up in line with best practice. During plant operation, the alarm system performance is measured against specific metrics, and the alarm settings modified under change control. Constant attention must be paid to the alarm system’s performance, as it tends to drift away from optimal over time due to creeping changes in operating practice and performance.

xSeriCon can guide you through the process of developing and setting up a standards-compliant, efficient and workable alarm management system. We will support your alarm champion throughout each phase of the alarm lifecycle, passing on experience and knowhow and providing training, document templates and software solutions.

Alarm Rationalisation

To optimize alarm system performance, decisions must be made about which alarms are essential for safe plant operation, as well as a number of other parameters such as alarm priority, setpoint, and tuning.

Advanced alarming techniques can also be applied to reduce the likelihood of alarm floods, stale alarms, standing alarms, and multiple alarms from a single incident. These tasks are generally performed in a workshop setting, using a technique known as alarm rationalization (AR) or another, closely related technique called Alarm Objective Analysis (AOA). With many thousands of alarms present in a typical process control system, efficient AR is essential; yet safety critical decisions are being made, requiring great care to avoid dangerous errors and assumptions.

xSeriCon’s team has chaired numerous AR workshops, including large multi-centre projects, for both greenfield (new build) and brownfield (existing facilities) situations. Our practical, efficient approach and effective in-house software solutions can help you complete your AR in good time and at competitive cost.

Selected AR client list

  • Gasco
  • ConocoPhillips
  • Pertamina
  • Petrotrin
  • Hess
  • Qatar Petroleum