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Course: Alarm Management

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The ease at which Distributed Control Systems (DCS) alarms can be created has removed the incentive to limit the number of such alarms. The result, operators today are potentially faced with more alarms than they can effectively monitor. Alarm Systems Management (ASM) should therefore identify unnecessary alarms, those set at the wrong value and general overall improvement to the systems and procedures
Poor management and poor ownership of alarm systems with no agreed alarms policy inevitably leads to a situation where alarms are incorrectly set giving large numbers of irrelevant alarms which the operator, frustrated, begins to ignore or which may obscure more critical alarms. Rationalisation and de-manning of control rooms without an awareness of human factors further increases potential risks. In this ‘nontechnically’ based seminar you will learn how to:

Apply concepts and procedures for improving alarm management
Assess the performance of your system with a range of improvement techniques
How to improve and apply Alarm Management techniques
Evaluate your current operator readiness, state of training and ability
Consider the opportunities for increased plant performance and safety




  • Alarm Management will provide you with a collection of techniques, tools, standards and procedures that will improve operations and overall effectiveness
  • Business Case Tools: Understand the costs of poor alarm performance or not implementing an alarm management philosophy by reviewing sample business case studies
  • Best Practice Alarm Management Strategies: Quickly and effectively integrate alarm management strategies by examining successful, working solutions
  • Alarm Management Performance: Understand the number of ways of measuring the performance of an alarm system and its users
  • Ensuring that Emergency Response systems are in place so if/when the system does fail the response can be efficient and effective


Training Methodology

Delegates will be encouraged to fully participate in this non-technical programme through the use of syndicate workshops and presentations, group discussions and questionnaires. A hard-copy manual (and CD), PowerPoint slides, relevant DVD material, handouts and case-studies will be fully utilised



Organisational Impact

The many shortcomings found in alarm systems can cause incidents where the risk to personnel is increased together with an increase in operation costs. Participants will be introduced to concepts, methods and procedures for dealing with alarm management systems

  • Configured and correctly enforced, alarms need to be set at the right operating conditions
  • Identify possible causes for the alarm whether it’s legitimate (providing information), spurious (misleading or a nuisance) or redundant (telling the operator something he already knows)
  • Such conditions will be a major tool allowing process operators to rapidly identify escalating abnormal situations and take action to recover
  • Avoid abnormal situations that can quickly lead to personnel danger, environmental issues, commercial loss and a damaged reputation.




Introduction, aims and objectives of the course. Key Issues:

  • Guidance document EEMUA 191
    • Basic Alarm Management philosophy, what does it include?
    • 5 Justifications for Alarm Management
    • Alarm Management, all plants need it!
  • Project Plan Outline – not a one-off project!
    • Benchmark & Assessment
    • Alarm Management Philosophy
    • Alarm analysis/rationalisation
    • Implementation and execution
    • Continuous Improvement
  • Functional definitions of systems
  • Case Study – Milford Haven Texaco Refinery, 1994


Principles of an Alarm Management Programme

  • Managing an improvement programme – who should be involved?
  • Personal and Team targets
  • Alarm proliferation
  • Alarm review and control of modifications
  • Increased hazards, use of alarms, control and protection
  • Major commercial hazards will involve risks to people and the environment
  • Strategy and / or Culture of Improvement
  • Operator involvement and ‘no-blame’ reporting
  • Integrating Alarm Management to boost Plant Production
  • Case Study and DVD - Piper Alpha


Measuring Performance along with Human Factors

  • Alarms need people – human factor issuesHuman Factors – International Standard IEC61508
  • Operator questionnaires, Improving operator procedures
  • Dealing with unwanted alarms
  • Logical processing of alarms
  • Case Histories – some examples of loss
  • Potential conflicts between various business needs
  • Case Study and DVD – Bhopal, India. Union Carbide (Dow Chemicals)


Legislation and Self Evaluation

  • Operator Interface. “Are there problems with your existing alarm system”? Take some measurements to find out - How many alarms are there? Are you overwhelmed by alarm ‘floods’?
  • Management Responsibilities – Legislation
  • Physical Assessment Trees
  • Learning from sample business cases studies
  • Is your organisation prepared? Self Evaluating Activity and questionnaires
  • The Alerting process; Communications and Warnings
  • Equipping and identifying Emergency Operations/Communications Centres
  • Stress Levels of Control Room Operators & Emergency Responders
  • BP Case Studies – Texas 2005, Alaska 2006 & Gulf of Mexico 2010


Should the system catastrophically fail and a Major Incident follows:

  • Departmental Roles & Responsibilities
  • Role of First responders - Emergency Response Teams
  • Role of the Incident On-Scene Commander
  • Shelter or Evacuation workshop
  • Designing drills and exercises


The European Quality Center adopts modern methods of training and development and raising the efficiency of human resources development, so we follow:

  • Theoretical lectures through PowerPoint presentations and Visual presentations (videos and short films).
  • Scientific evaluation for the trainee (pre & post-evaluation).
  • Brainstorming, application and representation of roles.
  • Practical situations that are appropriate to the scientific material and with the nature of the work of trainees.
  • Tests at the end of the course.
  • The participant receives the scientific and practical material for the training program printed and saved on CD or Flash Memory.
  • Attendance reports for participants and final results reports with general evaluation of the program.
  • The scientific material of the training program is prepared in a scientific and professional manner, this is done by the best professors and trainers in all fields and all specialties.
  • At the end of the program, the trainee will receive a certificate of professional attendance, signed and certified by the European Quality Center for Training, Development and Consulting.
  • Opening hours from 9 am to 2 pm, the program includes a snack buffet during the lectures.
  • Daily buffet food throughout the days of the training program, with a closing lunch on the last day of the training program for the distribution of certificates and commemorative photographs to the attendees
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