Nuisance Alarms – A menace to the Operator
Recording Date: March 2017
Nuisance alarms are alarms that don’t meet the definition or purpose of an alarm according to the ISA-18.2 / IEC 62682 alarm management standards. Defined as alarms that annunciate excessively, unnecessarily, or do not return to normal after the correct response is taken, nuisance alarms can be the operator’s worst nightmare. They can clutter the alarm summary display, increase operator stress, desensitize the operator, and cause them to lose situation awareness. Nuisance alarms can create a culture where it becomes necessary and acceptable for operators to ignore alarms.
This presentation will discuss the dangers of nuisance alarms from a human factors point of view and will discuss techniques for eliminating them (rationalization), as well as handling them when they occur (alarm shelving). It will talk about how nuisance alarms affect operator decision making and how to change a culture where the ignoring of alarms has become standard practice.
About the Presenter:
Todd Stauffer, PE, is responsible for exida’s alarm management products and services (training, consulting, SILAlarm™ rationalization software). He is an editor and voting member of the ISA-18.2 standards committee on alarm management and currently is the co-chair of ISA-18.2’s Working Group 3 (Basic Alarm Design). He is an instructor for ISA’s training class “Introduction to the Management of Alarm Systems”. Todd is also exida’s representative on the EEMUA 191 committee. Todd has experience leading alarm philosophy development workshops for clients and performing alarm philosophy gap analyses. He has published and presented numerous papers on alarm management. Recent works include “Implementing an Effective Alarm Management Plan” and “Benchmarking the Use of Alarms as Safeguards and IPLs”. His article “Don’t be Alarmed: Avoid Unplanned downtime from alarm overload“ was selected as Intech magazine’s best article of the year in 2007.