Fixing Your Nuisance Alarms Just Got a LOT Easier

The most popular alarm management presentation we have ever done has been the one on fixing “Bad Actor” alarms. I like it because I get to refer to some of my favorite schlocky sci-fi movies – and it turns out that lots of engineers like those as well!   Nuisance alarm reduction is an important step. We recommend it at the beginning of an alarm improvement effort because it is easy, fast, cheap, and... Read more

WannaCry: A Serious Threat and Patching Challenge for Critical Infrastructure

It happened. The ransomware known as WannaCry was confirmed this week as having made it into industrial process facilities. This should put all companies who rely upon industrial control systems (ICS) – particularly companies classified as critical infrastructure – on high alert. Why? Because the choices available to protect the systems within an industrial facility’s network are much more... Read more

When it Comes to Alarm Management, Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

I recently presented at the Ocean Energy Safety Institute Seminar on Focusing on Alarm Management for Safer Offshore Operations. It was exciting to hear what peers in other industries had to say regarding their approach to alarm management. The panel included professors from Texas A&M University and representatives from Schlumberger, NASA, and the chemical, petrochemical, and power industries.At the... Read more

Is Your House in Order?

A few weeks ago, an inspector visited my home as part of a refinance process. My family is good about home maintenance activities, but he did remind us to caulk and patch the exterior of our house each year. This preventative maintenance best practice protects our most valuable asset from the elements. This visit reminds me of another visit – one I recently made to a large power company. We talked at length about... Read more

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... Read more

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