Updated alarm management guidelines

Control Engineering International: Alarm systems design, management, and procurement advice is available in the third edition guide from Engineering Equipment and Materials Users' Association (EEMUA), reports Suzanne Gill from Control Engineering Europe.


The new 2013 Edition of EEMUA 191 offers revised guidance on the design, management, and procurement of effective alarm systems. EEMUA is the Engineering Equipment and Materials Users’ Association. Following the guidance given in the EEMUA 191 third editiThe new 2013 Edition of EEMUA 191 offers revised guidance on the design, management, and procurement of effective alarm systems. EEMUA is the Engineering Equipment and Materials Users’ Association. New additions to the guidelines include chapters on HCI management techniques and alarm configuration, and also appendices covering alarm suppression, geographically distributed processes, intelligent fault detection, requirements for alarms, and supporting checklists. Following the guidance given in the EEMUA 191 third edition should result in better alarm systems that are more usable and result in safer and more cost-effective industrial operations.

EEMUA 191 is considered by many as the globally accepted guide to good practice for alarm management. It should be of interest to those responsible for safety and quality improvement through efficient and effective use of alarm handling systems, or those working directly or indirectly with alarm systems in chemical, pharmaceutical, petrochemical, and other process industries; the energy exploration and generation sector; and related industry sectors.

Commenting on the guidelines, Clive Tayler, EEMUA chief executive, said: "A particular strength of EEMUA 191 is that it was developed by the users of alarm systems in industry. The first and second editions have sold thousands of copies worldwide, formed the basis of training courses internationally, and led to the production of related publications, such as EEMUA 201, which deals with human-machine interfaces."

Broadened guidelines

Commenting on some of the highlights of the revised guidelines, John Lilley, Technical Lead - Electrical, Instrumentation & Control at EEMUA said: “In the third edition we have broadened the guidelines. In addition to looking at continuous processing industries, we are also now looking at batch and geographically distributed industries, such as gas and water.”

This is a significant extension to the scope of the guide, which previously focused more on the petrochemical and power industries. “We have added around 80 pages to the original 170-page publication. It has been completely revised and reviewed by EEMUA’s instrumentation and control technical committee. We also involved an industry review group—consisting of the main alarm vendors—who had input into the revised guidelines. The Health & Safety Executive in the UK has also reviewed it in detail,” said Lilley. A spokesperson from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) said: “This guidance sets out sensible, proportionate, reasonable, and balanced advice to owners on the design, management, and procurement of alarm systems.”

Lilley said that EEMUA has looked in detail at the principles of alarm design in the system of alarm management and added a new chapter on human-computer interface (HCI) management techniques. “There is a great deal of work being done on human factors currently in the area of standardization,” he said. “We are well positioned in that regard because we have already produced EEMUA 201, which deals with human-machine interfaces.

“There were no standards for alarm management, so EEMUA 191 really has filled a gap. Indeed, subsequent standardization efforts have all followed the principles and the assumptions of EEMUA 191,” Lilley said.

The subject of alarm suppression has also been covered in more detail in the third edition. “We have included a flow chart to show the basic sequences for suppression,” explained Lilley. “So wherever their starting point, users have a flow diagram that can be used to identify whether alarm masking is necessary, and advising on what type of masking to employ. The guidelines also discuss the different methods of suppression, and offer a series of general suppression rules that should be applied to alarms.”

- Suzanne Gill is editor of Control Engineering Europe. This article originally appeared at www.controlengeurope.com and was edited for the Control Engineering International pages for the North American edition of Control Engineering. Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering, mhoske@cfemedia.com.




No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Raising the standard: What's new with NFPA 70E; A global view of manufacturing; Maintenance data; Fit bearings properly
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Upgrading secondary control systems; Keeping enclosures conditioned; Diagnostics increase equipment uptime; Mechatronics simplifies machine design
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.