ISA approves alarm systems standard

June 22, 2009
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. -- A major new standard on the development, installation and management of alarm systems in the process industries has reached a significant milestone. ISA-18.2, “Management of Alarm Systems for the Process Industries,” has been approved by the ISA Standards & Practices Board and, following final approval by the American National Standards Institute, is expected to be published in July.Alarm system management requires several activities and work processes connected by the alarm system life cycle. The new standard defines the terminology and models for a common language to describe the alarm system. It also describes the activities required to achieve the desired performance of the alarm system and to maintain that performance.“Improving the performance of alarm systems is essential to achieving operational excellence in manufacturing,” stated Nicholas Sands of DuPont, co-chair of the ISA18 committee. “The activities covered in this standard will help solve the common problems with alarm systems, which will in turn reduce the frequency of safety incidents and plant upsets and lead to improved business performance.”With nearly 100 experts from across the globe, the ISA18 committee, Instrument Signals and Alarms, develops standards and related documents for alarm systems including the definition, design, installation, operation, maintenance, modification and work processes to effectively maintain an alarm system over time. The committee is beginning work on a series of technical reports to provide further definition and examples of the lifecycle work processes.“The ISA-18.2 standard is the product of a dedicated and experienced group of volunteers that worked through the consensus standards process,” stated Donald Dunn of Aramco Services Company the US affiliate of Saudi Aramco, co-chair of ISA18. “The committee was motivated by the common experience of incidents when the alarm system failed to prevent an event.”