An alarm system is often the first line of defence in avoiding a serious process incident, and yet all too often it is ineffective when it is needed most. Alarm floods, nuisance alarms and high numbers of standing alarms are all common features of a poorly configured alarm system leading to operators missing important alarms.
At the other end of the spectrum a well-managed alarm system provides the operational clarity needed for optimal day-to-day operations and consistent performance. Yokogawa’s alarm management consultancy service is independent of vendor technology and based on our expertise in hands-on improvement. We implement a program that will help your team understand the concepts of good alarm management practice, plan for improvement and ultimately move beyond just managing alarms to using alarms to manage your safety, process and productivity.
Avoiding Risks Caused by Inefficient Alarming
In recent years, plants have experienced increased alarm flooding. This leads to the oversight of important alarms while at the same time significantly adding to the scope of operator tasks. It is becoming increasingly difficult to realise safer, more stable, and efficient plant operation with limited human resources. Therefore, the necessity of alarm validation, optimisation and management is becoming widely recognised as an important countermeasure. Implementing alarm management can be a challenge, because managing and coordinating the ongoing improvement effort requires the coordination of resources across several departments such as Maintenance, Engineering, Operations and Process Control.
Yokogawa's Alarm Management Consultancy Services are a portfolio of solutions designed to sustain your alarm system performance throughout the plant lifecycle. Alarm management is a journey with a destination that is unique for every plant. The alarm management services from Yokogawa reflect this in a flexible, comprehensive but pragmatic approach, tailored to your individual needs and circumstances. In summary the main steps span gap assessment, improving performance and finally steady, continuous improvement. In the vast majority of cases there are a number of quick wins.
Effective alarm management requires a human-centric approach to the challenges. Yokogawa’s alarm management program recognises this fact. It is suitable for clients wishing to achieve compliance with international standards including ISA 18.2 and IEC 62682 but is even more appropriate for organisations that recognise there is a prize beyond compliance. These organisations understand that a well-configured alarm system is a significant asset in improving plant performance and safety.
Yokogawa’s Alarm Management Consultancy Services are modular as well as flexible, meaning that clients can jump immediately to the phase that corresponds to the current status of their alarm management activities.
Optimised Alarms Lead to High-Level Safety
Once you get past the nuisance behaviour of the alarms themselves then what is left is telling you something useful about the health of your process, equipment, or operating practices.
For organisations who have reached this level of alarm management maturity, the focus is not on compliance or KPIs but on seeking to understand the root causes of alarm events and what the organisation can learn from them. This step is less about introducing new techniques or procedures. It is more about maintaining established good practice and a constant state of vigilance in order to detect and respond to change. Yokogawa’s consultants are on hand to facilitate and help maximise the benefit to your organisation.
This is where a real breakthrough in productivity and HSE performance can happen; the alarm system works for you, not the other way around.
Typical benefits include:
- Improved operational flexibility and availability
- Improved environmental, safety and other regulatory compliance
- Enhanced understanding of the process operating envelope leading to an improvement in operating efficiency
- Reduction in loss from equipment damage, unscheduled downtime, regulatory fines and loss of reputation
Introduction to Alarm Management Training Course
Yokogawa offers a one-day training course at various locations throughout the UK and Ireland, which provides an introduction to alarm management. The course introduces alarm design concepts, the alarm management life-cycle provided in the ANSI/ISA18.2 standard, and methods to improve alarm performance. For more information about dates and locations, please see our scheduled training.
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