The Engineering Equipment and Material Users Association (EEMUA) 191 publication (Alarm systems – A guide to design, management and procurement) states that one of the important characteristics of a ‘good’ alarm is that the alarm has been prioritised.
By definition all alarms should be important and should be analysed immediately, if possible. In reality process upsets occur that may cause multiple alarms to activate at the same time and under this scenario a method of categorisation is required to ensure that the alarm of greatest importance is analysed first. The prioritisation of the alarm when combined with other good practice activities during alarm design ensures that the operator is directed to respond to alarms in a logical and risk based manner. EEMUA 191 advocates a number of methods to establish the required alarm priority however it is usually appropriate to prioritise alarms according to:
The severity of the consequences in terms of Safety, Environmental and Economic should the alarm not be acted upon.
The time available compared with the time required for the corrective action to be performed.
The method of prioritisation selected may depend on the amount of resource available to execute the prioritisation exercise and a consistent approach to prioritisation is essential.
ProSalus can utilise EEMUA 191 compliant software to ensure a consistent systematic approach to alarm prioritisation. We have experienced engineers with extensive experience within the Process Industries to independently support your Alarm rationalisation projects.