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When Good Alarms Go Bad: Learnings from Incidents

Some of the significant process industries incidents occurred by overflowing vessels, including BP Texas City and Buncefield.  In many overflow incidents, alarms were designed to signal the need for operator intervention. These alarms may have been identified as safeguards or layers of protection, but they did not succeed in preventing the incident.  This paper reviews several overflow incidents to consider the alarm management and human factors elements of the failures.

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