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.