A standard grows up: The evolution of ISA’s standard on alarm management (ISA-18.2)
By Todd Stauffer
On 23 June 2009, ANSI/ISA-18.2, “Management of Alarm Systems for the Process Industries” (ISA-18.2), was released. As with many standards, completion of ISA-18.2 entailed significant effort from a cross-functional team of volunteers representing end users, suppliers, consultants, integrators, and the government. The ISA18 committee labored for more than five years, turning out eight drafts of the standard and reviewing/resolving almost 4,000 comments. Release of a standard, however, is just one stage in its life. Performance-based standards define the “what,” but not the “how.” Application guidelines and examples, the “how,” are needed to support wide-spread adoption by industry.
Overview of ISA-18.2
ISA-18.2 provides a framework for the successful design, implementation, operation, and management of alarm systems. It contains guidance to help prevent and eliminate the most common alarm management problems, as well as a methodology for measuring and analyzing performance of an alarm system. The standard is organized around the alarm management lifecycle. The key activities of alarm management are executed in the different stages of the lifecycle. The products of each stage are the inputs for the activities of the next stage.
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