Alarm System Improvement
On every production platform, plant, or facility, we want to avoid incidents, accidents, and interruptions. However, if anything occurs, we want the least amount of time to pass, before we resume production.
- Major accidents and losses
- Operator burnout
- Loss of production, typically around 3-5%
1. What is an Alarm System Improvement project?
What to look for
- Minor process disturbances that produce a large amount of alarms
- Routine operations that produce a large number of alarms with no action required
- Alarm texts that are not understandable and offers little-to-no help
- A large number of high priority alarms occur
- Major process disturbances that produce alarm flooding
How do we approach the project?
1. Initial Alarm System Study
- Study and report of current alarm systems performance
- Establish performance targets based on best practices
- Establish philosophies and specifications
2. Alarm System Improvement project
- Alarm cleaning (rationalisation) workshops with technicians and operators
- Development of alarm response manual
- Prepare job-packs for implementation into control and safety system
- Implementation into control system
- Issue final report, documenting the resultant alarm system performance
3. Alarm System Maintenance
- Regular alarm system health checks and KPI monitoring
- Training of new personnel and new projects
- Design review of major modification projects
- Management of change (MoC) for alarm system
Recommended reading: Why do some Alarm Improvement Projects fail?
Applicable Standards and Alarm Management Software
2. Project cost
- Client effort (vs. external resources)
- Complexity/size of the plant
3. How can you get started?
- Step one is a system study, as the project scope and targets should be based on the initial condition
- It is not feasible to run an Alarm System Improvement project without dedicated commitment from the plant or site operator
- Additional involvement from client side is optional, based on availability of personnel and schedule
Unfortunately, some alarm improvement projects fail. In order to take part in our experience, we recommend to discuss the common pitfalls and success factors with us.