Ergonomic Auditory Alarm Signals for the Oil and Chemical Processing Industry

IISE Trans Occup Ergon Hum Factors. 2021 Apr-Jun;9(2):86-95. Epub 2021 Dec 13.


OCCUPATIONAL APPLICATIONSAuditory alarm signals are a safety measure that would benefit from improvement across many industries. There is a considerable research base that can be applied to the development and testing of audible alarms, though this is rarely done in practice. We describe a process that can be adopted in any area where audible alarm signals are widespread. A comprehensive approach to updating and improving auditory alarms requires consideration not only of individual alarm sounds but also of how the alarm signals will work together. We show the development and design of alarm signal sets following best practices from acoustic, psychoacoustic, and psychological knowledge to ensure that the resultant alarms are localizable, audible, easy to learn, appropriately urgency-mapped, and differentiable. We also describe benchmarking tests, and a protocol for thinking about how auditory alarm signals might be implemented in control rooms of different sizes.

Keywords: alarms; auditory alarm signals; auditory alarms; design; safety.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustics
  • Clinical Alarms*
  • Ergonomics
  • Psychoacoustics
  • Sound