A systematic approach to the distribution (assignment) of signals to certain process parameters, their monitoring and control in order to ensure safe and reliable production.
The project has significantly raised awareness among process operators and given them the ability to prevent unscheduled shutdowns, damage to equipment and breaches of production safety.
Without a system of alarm management, high-cost predictive electronics systems are incapable of achieving their full potential, since the number of simultaneous alarms in modern production facilities results in operators ignoring them and erroneously prioritising responses.
PROBLEMS CAUSED BY THE ABSENCE OF AN ALARM MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
Up to 200 new alarms every hour. And this is not the limit. These are the realities of working in a modern enterprise. It's clearly impossible to respond to them all and any attempt to do so would lead to exhaustion, divided attention, reduced levels of responsibility and, as a result, increased risk, increased stoppages, accidents and even human casualties.
NO TIME TO ACT
While it takes a lot of time and effort to respond to alarms, there's often no time left for personnel to make decisions and take specific actions. The measures taken are frequently temporary. They're almost never systematic or part of an overall industrial strategy, if such exists.
ACCUSTOMED TO DANGER
Most accidents occur due to ignoring danger signals. If there's a constantly flashing red light, then over time personnel stop paying attention to it. It's like the story of the boy who shouted: "Wolf!" However, when there's a real and justified hazard, no one believes it and the consequences can be very dangerous. How many lives and resources could be saved if personnel had time to respond to alarms properly?
INTERNATIONAL EXAMPLES OF A LACK OF ALARM MANAGEMENT
1979 The explosion of the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant (USA)
DAMAGE: $ 975 million CAUSE: Operator error due to information overload
1984 Bhopal Chemical Plant Explosion (India)
DAMAGE: 18,000 fatalities, $ 12 billion required to deal with the consequences. REASON: All safeguarding systems were inoperative or ineffective. The safety devices did not reflect the real state of the tank. The safety inspector had been dismissed and the most effective protective device - the afterburning gas pipe - had been removed and not replaced for several weeks
1988 Piper Alpha Explosion (UK)
DAMAGE: 167 fatalities, $ 3.4 billion in financial losses REASON: Unapproved operation of sub-divisions, shutdown of fire pumps due to repeated false alarm signals
1994 Explosion at the Milford Oil Refinery (UK)
CAUSE: A combination of management, equipment and control errors at the time of a plant failure
1998 Gas explosion at Esso Longford (Australia)
DAMAGE: 2 killed, 8 injured, $ 34.2 million - financial losses. REASON: Lack of process control, absence of working procedures for actions in the event of emergency
2005 Fire and explosion in Texas at an oil refinery (USA)
DAMAGE: 15 killed, 170 injured CAUSE: Deviation from approved procedures, problems with critical equipment, inadequate maintenance of critical safety equipment, failure to monitor alarms and level indicators in the separation columns
2005 Boonsefield Oil Storage Fire
DAMAGE: 43 people injured, losses - almost 250 thousand tons of oil REASON: Tank overflow due to loss of level control, formation of a gas cloud, explosion
ALARM MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
KEY STAGES OF THE PROJECT
Host and facilitate a strategic alarm management session
Development, implementation, support for the concept and standard of an alarm management process
Identifying potential alarms and writing operating procedures for their management
Training course in tools to identify potential alarms
Training courses on the development of risk thinking for management personnel
Optimizing the alarm management system
Development of recommendations for the design of the production process control panel