• ISA18, Instrument Signals and Alarms


    This committee develops standards, technical reports, and guidelines for alarm systems including annunciators, process automation systems, and the general development, design, installation, and management of alarm systems in the process industries.


    To establish terminology and practices for alarm systems, including the definition, design, installation, operation, maintenance and modification and work processes recommended to effectively maintain an alarm system over time.

    Current Activities

    The committee is focused on the revision of ISA-18.1-1979 (R2004) Annunciator Sequences and Specifications, the revision of ISA-18.2-2009 Managment of Alarm Systems for the Process Industries, and the development of the remaining  3 technical reports for ISA-18.02, Management of Alarm Systems for the Process Industries. The following is a list of the current working groups.

    • ISA18.1 - WG to revise Annunciator Sequences and Specifications
    • WG1 - Alarm Philosophy - work in progress
    • WG2 - Alarm Identification and Rationalization - work in progress
    • WG3 - Basic Alarm Design - work in progress
    • WG4 - Enhanced and Advanced Alarm Methods - complete
    • WG5 - Alarm Monitoring, Assessment, and Audit - complete
    • WG6 - Alarm Design for Batch and Discrete Processes - complete
    • WG7 - Alarm Management for Packaged Equipment - work in progress

    More information on each working group can be found on the related page.

    The committee has wide representation from users, vendors and consultants. Co-Chairs Donald Dunn and Nicholas Sands can provide further information.

    If you are interested in participating in one of these groups, please contact one of the co-chairs to express interest.

    Next Meeting

    The next face-face meeting of ISA18 will be held in conjunction with ISA Summer Leaders Meeting on June 30, 2014 in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA.


    The ISA18 committee published ANSI/ISA-18.2 in 2009. At the June 15, 2009 meeting, the committee formed 7 working groups; 6 working on technical reports and 1 working on review of ISA-18.1-1979 (R2004).  The working groups reported significant progress during recent meetings.

    ISA-TR18.2.4-2012, ISA-TR18.2.5-2012, and ISA-TR18.2.6-2012 are now published. Work continues on the other technical reports, and others are expected to be published in 2013.

    Standards and Technical Reports

    ISA-18.1-1979 (R2004), Annunciator Sequences and Specifications. This standard is primarily for use with electrical annunciators that call attention to abnormal process conditions by the use of individual illuminated visual displays and audible devices. Annunciators can range from a single annunciator cabinet, to complex annunciator systems with many lamp cabinets and remote logic cabinets. The sequence designations provided can be used to describe basic annunciator sequences and also many sequence variations.

    ANSI/ISA-18.2-2009, Management of Alarm Systems in the Process Industries.  This standard provides requirements and recomendations for the activities of the alarm management lifecyle.  Lifecycle stages include philosophy, identification, rationalization, detail design, implementation, operation, maintenance, monitoring & assessment, management of change, and audit.

    ISA-TR18.2.4-2012, Enhanced and Advanced Alarm Methods.  This technical report provides guidance on enhanced and advanced alarm methods and focuses on the scope of Clause 12 of ISA-18.2. Enhanced alarm design covers guidance on additional logic, programming, or modeling used to modify alarm behavior. These methods may include: dynamic alarming, state-based alarming, adaptive alarms, logic-based alarming, and predictive alarming, as well as most of the designed suppression methods.

    ISA-TR18.2.5-2012, Alarm System Monitoring, Assessment, and Auditing.  This technical report provides guidance on monitoring, assessment and audit of alarms. TR5 focuses on the scope of ANSI/ISA-18.02-2009 Clauses 16 and 18. Monitoring, assessment, and audit cover the continuous monitoring, periodic performance assessment, and recurring audit of the alarm system.

    ISA-TR18.2.6-2012, Alarm Systems for Batch and Discrete Processes.  This technical report covers the application of alarm management principles in ISA-18.2 to batch and discrete processes. The general principles and techniques are intended for use in the lifecycle management of an alarm system based on programmable electronic controller and computer-based human machine interface (HMI) technology.


    The ISA18 committee is open to new members with an interest in alarm management.  The membership form is below.

    For more information, please contact

    Eliana Brazda
    ISA Standards Administrator
    (919) 990-9228

    Related Files

    ISA18 Membership Form (Microsoft Word Document)

  • Contacts

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