A Well-Kept Secret: The ISA-18.2 Technical Report on Alarm Management


Since the ISA-18.2 Alarm Management Standard was originally issued in 2009, a series of associated International Society of Automation (ISA) Technical Reports (TRs) have been created. The TRs expand on the content of the standard, providing informative content with examples.

Standards vs. Technical Reports: what’s the difference? “Standard” is a special word. A standard is an authoritative document developed in accordance with a strict American National Standards Institute (ANSI) methodology, embodying such principles as balance of interests and consensus and incorporating a stringent review and documentation process. Standards are developed by organizations that follow such a work process, such as ISA and American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). Standards attain a special status called RAGAGEP (“Recognized and Generally Accepted Good Engineering Practice”). Standards can, have, and will be used by government regulatory agencies as the basis for fines and enforcement actions, just as if they were actual regulations. Many examples of this exist. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) includes it in their own presentations, and government agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mention it on their websites. 

This white paper discusses the differences between standards and technical reports and the content of each TR, and then it compares the content in “The Alarm Management Handbook, Second Edition.” The author of this white paper participated in the development and content generation of all the ISA-18.2 TRs.

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