Honing in on Hazards: Safety Software Helps Utilities Monitor, Prevent Risks and Enact Contingency Plans

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ACM's SafeGuard Sentinel measures and monitors plant conditions, detects safety-related issues, alerts operators, and suggests contingency plans.
ACM's SafeGuard Sentinel measures and monitors plant conditions, detects safety-related issues, alerts operators, and suggests contingency plans.

New safety monitoring software from ACM Facility Safety continuously measures, monitors and alerts operations and management to process safety risks. By presenting real-time risk information and expert knowledge to make effective operational decisions, SafeGuard Sentinel helps prevent safety incidents, environmental infractions and operational downtime.

SafeGuard enables plants to reduce risk and identify critical precautions during operation, and it provides information on which to base strategic decisions, including the monitoring of safety performance indicators up to a board of directors' level. The technology also delivers contingency plans that can be executed immediately to address issues and reduce risk.

Designed to operate on a Windows-based server in a plant network, SafeGuard can be accessed by any device capable of running a browser, including DCS workstations, operator terminals, tablets, and smartphones. The system's server connects through OPC and ODBC, allowing it to gather information from a variety of systems including DCSs, PLCs and PACs from all major control system suppliers.

Other sources of data include safety systems, historians, SCADA systems, maintenance systems, operator logbooks, and workflow tracking systems. Depending on the network setup, ACM's SafeGuard can be hosted in the plant DMZ, which allows access at a business level. The safety software also only needs one-way communication from the various systems to gather data, thus preserving plant security.

The SafeGuard Sentinel integrates data from these various systems to create an all-inclusive database of information including Hazard and Operability (HAZOP) Studies and Layer of Protection Analysis (LOPA). The system uses this information to provide situational analysis and contingency plans for process safety situations.

Hazardous plant conditions can be monitored in real-time, allowing operators to be alerted immediately. SafeGuard also captures risk events and operator actions for instant visualization and future analysis. By comparing the real-time measured risk level with the designed level of risk, it provides quantitative, leading metrics that depict changes in risk over time. Management can use it to see how process risk is changing and can further benchmark safety performance across process units or entire plants. Drawing upon information from sources such as maintenance and training records, SafeGuard reveals risks that would normally be undetected. More information: www.acm.ca

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