ASM Consortium has 20th anniversary | Automation.com

ASM Consortium has 20th anniversary

November 20, 2014 - This month marks the 20th anniversary of the start of the Abnormal Situation Management (ASM) Consortium. The ASM Consortium has been working continuously together for more than 20 years to maximize safety and performance by preventing or minimizing the impact of abnormal situations.

In the early 1990’s, a number of leading companies along with universities and research centers joined forces to advance the cause of industrial safety. Honeywell spearheaded the development of a proposal to the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Advanced Technology Program (ATP) to form a Joint Research & Development Consortium. The proposal addressed the challenging problem of abnormal situation management. Initial funding from members was matched by the US NIST ATP to fund its first three years. In November 1994, the ASM research joint venture began its research with $16.6 million in funding for a three-year study program, including $8.1 million from ATP and industry cost-sharing of $8.5 million.

Over the 20 years, the ASM Consortium has developed knowledge, tools, and products designed to prevent and manage abnormal situations in the process industry. The Consortium continues to develop best practices based on research and in-plant development. The best practices developed by the Consortium are completely available only to members (Know the ASM Membership), giving them a competitive advantage in safety and performance. The Consortium also periodically publishes guidelines which are available to the public so that the non-members can benefit from ASM Research as ASM Effective Practices Guidelines for Alarm Management, Console Operator HMI Design and Procedural Practices (Purchase Guidelines).

The global process industry alone averages one serious event or an abnormal situation in every three days (Incidents List). An abnormal situation occurs whenever an automated control system is unable to return the plant to its normal state without human intervention. The Consortium uses the science of human factors to improve the interaction between the automated control system and the human operators to resolve abnormal situations. The ASM Consortium has had a direct impact on reducing incidents. As the Consortium research and practices gain acceptance, so does the opportunity to increase safety for people and plants around the world.

The ASM Consortium is virtually unique in its methods which include academic rigor in its research followed by practical application via in-plant trials, testing, and development. The Consortium’s partnership with universities and human factors professionals provides the basis for rigorous, peer-reviewed cutting edge research. This human factors based research is tested in user member plants before being accepted as an ASM best practice. The in-plant testing takes place in user member company facilities around the globe so that cultural bias is eliminated.

The ASM Consortium has always been open for new operating companies who are interested in joining the Consortium to become part of the efforts to improve the safety and efficiency of process plant operations by improving Abnormal Situation Management. Please contact the ASM Consortium Director to discuss your interest.

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