Hello good people of the world! If you work with a mix of process equipment and supervisory control or monitoring systems, you know the importance of alerts and alarms, but most companies do not take the necessary steps to ensure their alerts and alarms are well configured and meaningful. One of the enemies is so-called “nuisance-alarms,” but just as important is knowing that you have enough alerting/alarming so that critical events are not missed and appropriate actions are taken before harm is done.
And by the way, alerts and alarms are something the FDA has historically shown to care about (e.g. FDA had observation at Teva Irvine for lack of validation on alerts and alarms). So what considerations are at play?
What should alert/alarm? If you’ve clearly defined your Critical Process Parameters (CPPs) and know what your Critical Quality Attributes (CQAs) are, you know already what needs alerts/alarms: all CPPs.
What should the alert/alarm limits be? This part is tricky: you need limits that provide operators with sufficient information without becoming a nuisance. All too often I see the situation where alarm banners are flashing but no one is paying attention because “there’s always alarms” or whatever.
What action should occur based on alert/alarm conditions? This is another place I often see improvements needed: every alert and alarm should have a documented action associated with it, typically in the SOP, that operators are trained on. If there is no documented action required for an alert/alarm, why do you have it?
What do you find critical in configuring alerts/alarms and introducing them into a manufacturing process?
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