Valuable information about unsafe conditions resides in the large alarm databases of distributed control systems and emergency shutdown systems. This overlooked and underutilized information can be analyzed to identify process near-misses and determine the probability of serious accidents.!
Automated control and safety systems that help a plant return to normal operating conditions when abnormal events occur are prevalent in modern chemical plants. The databases associated with these systems contain a wealth of information about near-miss occurrences that, if subjected to frequent statistical analysis, can provide metrics to predict and ideally prevent accidents. Such analysis is referred to as dynamic risk analysis.
This article introduces the concept of dynamic risk analysis (DRA) based on alarm databases. It provides a general overview of what this is, how it can be used in chemical processing to improve safety, and challenges that must be addressed over the next 5-10 years. It also highlights current research in this area and offers perspective on methodologies most likely to succeed.
Keywords: safety improvement, near-miss analysis, alarm databases, perspective article