The scenario below is fictional, but situations like it frequently occur in the real world, in all types of industries.
One afternoon at a waste water treatment facility, an alarm goes off when the water pressure gets too high in one of the tanks. The alarm is set at priority level 4, which means “critical,” but it doesn’t stand out because almost every other alarm at the facility is set at that level. Besides, the operator can’t acknowledge it right away because he’s dealing with several other alarms that went off a few minutes earlier – which he doesn’t yet realize are just “nuisance alarms.”
A few minutes later, before he’s had a chance to check the alarm set off by the tank, yet another set of alarms goes off. The tired operator decides to just silence all the alarms at once.
As a result, the operator remains unaware that the high water pressure in the tank is being caused by an input valve that was left partially open. Despite all of this alarm activity, a serious problem has gone unaddressed and it will only get worse as time goes on.
If the alarms had been prioritized properly, the level-4 alarm from the tank would have gotten the operator’s attention. If the operator could have temporarily shelved the alarms that went off earlier, he could have focused on the more serious alarm caused by the tank. If that alarm had come with associated data from other units near the tank, he could have seen the input valve was causing the problem and addressed it before the problem became more severe.
How can you get your alarming system to help prevent serious accidents instead of making your job more difficult? Read the white paper “Smarter SCADA Alarming” to learn about:
- What may be wrong with your alarm system
- Rethinking alarm management
- Prioritizing and analyzing alarms
- Real-time alarm management methods
- Setting alarm schedules and notification logic
- Different alarm notification options
- Maintaining alarm system improvements
- And more