• Alarm Audit

    2010 - Power/oil

    Andy was asked to carry out an alarm audit at a facility controlling power generation and supply to oil production sites. Over 20 gas turbines and a distribution network were controlled from a central location. Andy found that the system had evolved over a number of years, resulting a mismatch of control and monitoring technology being used. All had their own alarm systems, with varying problems and were in desperate need of review and rationalisation. Andy identified that operators were overloaded with alarms, but had developed coping strategies that allowed them to prioritise their actions. He provided the client with a plan to fundamentally change the way alarms were being managed that would improve reliability and process safety.  This was very well received, and Andy was asked to return to implement the proposals at a new facility. In fact the client was so impressed they offered a financial bonus.

  • Alarm management


    2008 - Gas onshore processing

    As part of a major plant design, Andy's client was required to carry out an alarm review. Andy advised the control, process and operations engineers on the project of current good practices for process alarms, particularly regarding prioritisation, and assisted in the initial review. They commented that this would result in an alarm system that was quite different to those they had experienced in the past but quickly understood the logic and started to see the benefits.

    The end result was a relatively small number of high priority alarms, with more medium and low priorities, and a significant number assigned to 'journal.' This compared to an initial allocation where the vast majority of alarms were to be assigned high priority, which would have inevitably resulted in a high workload and distraction for operators. Although a significant undertaking, the project proved that an alarm review was achievable and manageable.

  • Alarm review and rationalisation

    2011 - Power/oil

    Andy acted as leader of an alarm review for two new gas turbines.  He ran a workshop attended by representatives from operations, engineering, projects and maintenance teams; as well as EPC contractors and vendors.  Andy's first task was to achieve an agreed alarm philosophy consistent with latest standards and guidance including EMMUA 191.  This was then applied to the proposed set of alarms for the turbines and associated systems.  The result was a significant reduction, with approximately 70% being converted to journal notifications that would be recorded but not create an audible alarm in the control room.  This approach allowed fundamental changes in the way the turbines were to be operated where the operators could concentrate on proactive monitoring of the plant whilst the maintenance department would be responsible for identifying and planning maintenance interventions.  As well as specifying improved alarms, Andy's report made recommendations for improved process graphics and performance reporting.

  • Development of an in-house alarm policy, management and review procedures.

    2013 - Gas

    Andy was engaged to provide expert advice in the development of a suite of documents for managing process alarms.  He was able to make recommendations about how to improve the management of alarms to achieve latest standards, guidance and industry good practice; and to make the documents themselves more useable.