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How to Do Your Own Alarm Management Training

Alarm management training is something that many companies skip assuming that operators will figure out how to respond to an alarm, they do this because that is the way it has always been done.

As alarms get more complex, more rational, and more ways to configure them using multiple alarm modes and attributes. Some alarms can be simple absolute, calculated, recipe-driven, bit-pattern, controller-output, adaptive, statistical, % deviation, some can be rate-of-change while others can be more advanced fuzzy logic and many more. As the complexity increases so does the requirement to train operators.

However, this is only part of the problem, training should start with training stakeholders and rationalization team member on Roles & Responsibilities, a complete understanding of the Alarm Philosophy Document, How to follow the Alarm Rationalization Procedure and methodology, how to fulfill roles like Alarm Custodian, Chair Person of a Rationalization Team, Secretary of the Rationalization Team, individual contributors and professionals who may have gaps in their knowledge about how to extract data from the automation systems, how to statistically analyze the raw data and produce audit reports for the stakeholders. How maintenance should test alarms and calibrate equipment, when point-to-point verification needs to be completed and how to do it.

Support training such as how to do a LOPA or ALARP study for all safety alarms, how to implement Dynamic alarm management techniques. Training is not just about an individual alarm; however, individual alarm training may be important.

What is required is a good understanding of the alarm priority and the expected response time required by that priority. The operator must understand from the Risk Matrix how the alarm priority was selected and what are the consequence if the alarm is not resolved. As part of the training and documentation of the alarm guidance is required to teach the operator what events may cause the alarm, what are the required steps to correct that diagnosis.

As part of the diagnosis process the HMI displays should be reviewed to identify where the information is located to collect the variables that will confirm the diagnosis. The training may identify screen changes to better improve the efficiency of diagnosing the cause of the alarm, especially the higher priority alarms.