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In the 1990s, new projects and plant expansions began incorporating computerized control technology, such as SCADA and DCS systems. This was driven by advantages in control, cost, reliability, and process analytics. However, it took a string of expensive accidents before people understood that the new types of alarm systems could be a serious problem. Even after that realization, many more accidents related to poorly performing alarm systems have continued to occur.
In this talk, several such accidents will be reviewed, highlighting how the alarm systems were found to be contributing factors. Issues include malfunctioning, misconfigured, and improperly suppressed alarms. In some cases, continuously high alarm rates and large alarm floods interfered with the operator’s ability to resolve the abnormal situation. Solutions to the alarm issues found will be identified.
Principal Consultant, PAS Global, LLC
Bill Hollifield is the Principal Alarm Management and HMI Consultant at PAS. He is a voting member on the ISA’s Alarm Management and HMI standards committees. Bill has worked on both those standards and co-authored 10 related technical reports. In 2014, Bill was made an ISA Fellow for contributions in these fields.
Bill is co-author of The Alarm Management Handbook, The High Performance HMI Handbook, and The Electric Power Research Institute’s EPRI Guidelines on Alarm Management for Power Generation and Transmission. He has a BSME from Louisiana Tech University and an MBA from the University of Houston. Bill is a pilot, and has built his own plane.