Don’t Lose Sight of the Forest for the Trees

In a recent interview with Chemical Processing magazine, I was asked about complying with alarm management standards such as ISA 18.2 and IEC 62682. I emphasized the obvious importance of complying with these standards. With compliance a given, we must guard against missing the forest for the trees. Striving for improved Operator Effectiveness (the forest) is the greater goal and focusing strictly on standards compliance (the trees) canlead to suboptimal outcomes.

Since our first alarm rationalization project back in 1994, one of the positive trends we have seen is greater recognition of the role that operators play in plant safety and reliability.  This has translated into increased investment in tools and information that enhance operator performance.

In alarm management customer projects, employing the right processes and technology enables plant operators to receive the right alarms at the right time and in the right context. In fact, companies find that by focusing on Operator Effectiveness they tend to achieve alarm reductions – usually the primary goal of many optimization projects – as a natural byproducts of the process.

Is your company focused on improving Operator Effectiveness?  Are you seeing the forest for the trees?

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