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 has been an editor and voting member of the ISA-18.2 standards committee on alarm management since 2005. He was an active participant in the development / publication of the ISA-18.2 standard itself and as an editor / reviewer for ISA’s series of technical reports on alarm management (including ISA-18.2 TR1 “Alarm Philosophy” and TR3 “Basic Alarm Design” for which he served as co-chair). He is currently the co-chair of the joint working group developing ISA-84.91.03 “Functional Safety of Safety Controls, Alarms, and Interlocks for the Process Sector”. Todd is an instructor for ISA’s official training class on alarm management and is exida’s representative on the EEMUA 191 committee.
He has executed numerous alarm philosophy workshops, gap assessments, and alarm management training classes for different control system platforms. Todd developed exida’s alarm philosophy best practices template. He is also the product manager for the SILAlarm rationalization software tool. Todd is an industry thought leader in alarm management. He has published numerous articles and presented many papers at supplier user group and industry conferences. His presentations have garnered three “Best in Conference” nominations and 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.