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By Todd Stauffer
In an ideal world, every alarm in a process control system would indicate a malfunction or abnormal condition that required operator action.

However, in the real world, alarms that are irrelevant or annunciate excessively — otherwise known as nuisance alarms — can pop up occasionally to quite frequently.

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They pose a risk to the successful operation of the plant because they overload operators with nonessential noise and desensitize them to the importance of alarms (“I can ignore this alarm…”).

Alarm shelving provides a way for the operator to manage these nuisance alarms safely and securely.

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What is alarm shelving? Shelving provides a controlled mechanism for the operator to temporarily remove a nuisance alarm from view until the underlying problem can be addressed.

It is such an important tool for alarm handling it is now required control system functionality per ISA-18.2-2016 and IEC 62682 (Management of Alarm Systems for the Process Industries).

As a result, more and more control systems have added this as a standard feature. 

However, there are still end users that hesitate to allow their operators to shelve alarms.

Click here to register to download the Alarm Shelving ebook here.

Also, click here to view a webinar on the subject.

Todd Stauffer is exida director of alarm management.

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