Rethink bypass and alarm management to boost operational safety and profitability

This audio was created using Microsoft Azure Speech Services

It is often been said that the most expensive catchphrase in the English language is “This is how we’ve always done it.” In the case of managing bypass and alarming operations when a critical process Safety Instrumented System (SIS) is inhibited, they could also be the language’s seven most dangerous words. Bypasses intentionally designed into an Emergency Shutdown System (ESD) must be strictly controlled to minimize the risk to people, production, and profits. Just because bypass operations have been executed successfully and without incident in the past, doesn’t mean those same methods still represent the best way to continue protecting workers and safeguarding expensive business infrastructure.

Validating the case for adopting digital technologies – automotive safety features

Advanced driver-assistance systems now widely available in newer vehicles prove how successful collaboration between new technology and safety can be. Features like automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, and blind-spot warning, amongst others, have reduced bodily injury claims by 27% and property damage frequency by 19%, according to research from global data and analytics company LexisNexis Risk Solutions. A separate study suggests the number of automobile collisions will decrease by as much as 50%, thanks to new safety technologies. Though initially skeptical, most motorists now embrace advanced automotive safety features, realizing they help lower on-road stress levels. Many even state the technology makes them feel like better, safer drivers.

Embrace new technology to improve bypass and alarm management

While the rapid adoption of automotive safety features tells us that all gain and no pain scenarios are precisely the types of digital transformation most people want, does the same principle apply to SIS and bypass operations? The answer is an unequivocal yes! An excellent example of how modern digital technology can achieve this is represented by Schneider Electric’s certified bypass and alarm management solution, EcoStruxure™ Triconex™ Safety View.

Aligning operational safety and profitability

There has always been a need to bypass instrumented safety systems, whether during a system startup, or for maintenance and testing, or repair and replacement. Yet, when specific safety functionality is circumvented, the risk to worker health and operations increases, especially for particularly hazardous processes (e.g., oil and gas, petrochemicals, and pharmaceuticals) where the consequences of a rupture, explosion, or toxic exposure could be catastrophic. While these risks are not new, why should organizations consider upgrading to a modern, digital alarm and bypass solution now? Several reasons stand out:

  1. Change is mainstream – digital transformation is underway and regulators, insurance providers, and often staff and customers expect companies to adopt digital technologies to streamline operations and improve competitiveness and resiliency. A solution like Safety View is engineered to help organizations digitize and achieve more when budgets are tight and resources limited.
  2. Managing operational risk is business-critical – situational awareness of serious conditions is fundamental to effectively managing risk. Operators are alerted when conditions require immediate attention change, in addition to providing clear indications of the level of alarm and all safety-critical devices that are present in a bypass.
  3. Health and safety management should be proactive – giving safety engineers insight into what’s coming, rather than reactively analyzing incidents after the fact can play an integral role in enhancing business continuity.

Adopt new alarm/bypass capabilities to realize big benefits

Organizations are sometimes reluctant to adopt new safety technology, but modern digital solutions can offer substantial benefits over legacy methods of bypass management:

  • Trim labor costs by reducing manual processing while gaining immediate visibility into and swifter remediation of incidents.
  • Minimize human error within the bypass and alarm management equation by reducing manual processing and enabling zero-touch alarms.
  • Be compliant with the most stringent certifications and standards. Safety View is the world’s first software solution for effective alarm and bypass management that is certified by TÜV Rheinland to IEC 61508 Systematic Capability 3 (SC3) for use in applications up to Safety Integrity Level 3 (SIL3).

The need to perform bypass and alarm management hasn’t changed, but the means to execute it more efficiently and safely has grown leaps and bounds from decades-old approaches. With clear visibility of bypass and critical alarms, operators can react faster to potentially unsafe conditions and reduce the likelihood of upsets that could cause costly downtime.

To learn more about the benefits of Safety View, visit our website or watch the video. Look for our next post where we’ll examine why certification to safety and cybersecurity standards are important.

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