Who's On Your Alarm Management Team?

Sept. 26, 2013
To ensure success with your alarm management upgrade, make sure operators are at least on, if not leading, your team.

At one time, alarm management programs were developed and handed down to operators. At the Husky PG Oil Refinery in Prince George, B.C., for example, alarm management came from the engineering side, and operators just became involved afterward, says Yuqin Ying.

“If they think a setting is too high or too low, they request changes and we can go through and make those changes,” Ying explains, noting that they weren’t involved at the design stage. “Only when they start operating, they find something that’s not good or needs changes.”

It has become increasingly accepted practice, however, to make sure that the operators are involved early on. They’re the ones, after all, who will have to deal with all those alarms. And they’re the ones who are most likely to know what will and won’t cause problems.

Operator involvement has been implemented at Husky. “This time we involved them in the whole process,” Ying says. “For alarm rationalization, we always have one or two operators involved in the process.”

Honeywell’s Kevin Brown is clear about the need for operator involvement. “If operations do not own the alarm management problem, that facility is likely to fail,” he says. “Typically, when people approach us, it usually comes out of the process control group or DCS group. Operations look, see too many alarms, and call the DCS people and say fix it. And then the DCS people call us for help. But the only way it’ll get fixed is if operations takes ownership.”

>> Read Automation World's complete coverage on alarm management: It's Hard to Keep a Bad Alarm Down.

About the Author

Aaron Hand | Editor-in-Chief, ProFood World

Aaron Hand has three decades of experience in B-to-B publishing with a particular focus on technology. He has been with PMMI Media Group since 2013, much of that time as Executive Editor for Automation World, where he focused on continuous process industries. Prior to joining ProFood World full time in late 2020, Aaron worked as Editor at Large for PMMI Media Group, reporting for all publications on a wide variety of industry developments, including advancements in packaging for consumer products and pharmaceuticals, food and beverage processing, and industrial automation. He took over as Editor-in-Chief of ProFood World in 2021. Aaron holds a B.A. in Journalism from Indiana University and an M.S. in Journalism from the University of Illinois.

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