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Engineering Report

SAER-6427

1 July 2012

Indicator Lamp Color Scheme - Basis for Standards Requirement


Document Responsibility: CSD/Electrical Systems Division

Saudi Aramco DeskTop Standards


Table of Contents
1
2
3
4

6
7
8

A
B
C
D
E

Previous Issue: New

Summary ....
Scope ..
Definitions ..
Lamp Color Requirement ....
4.1 Electrical Equipment
4.2 Process Equipment ..
Industry Practice ...
5.1 NFPA 79
5.2 ISA SP 5.5 .
Consistency between Disciplines ...
Conclusion .
References/Acknowledgement ...

2
2
2
3
3
3
4
4
5
5
6
6

Appendices
Extracts from Saudi Aramco Standards ....... 7
Extracts from NFPA 70
(National Electrical Code) 9
Motor starter photo . 10
Emergency Isolation Valve photo .... 11
Typical Consultation Request ... 12

Next Planned Update: TBD


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Primary contact: Carlson, Ronald Wayne on 966-3-8809665


CopyrightSaudi Aramco 2012. All rights reserved.

Document Responsibility: CSD/Electrical Systems Division


SAER-6427
Issue Date: 1 July 2012
Next Planned Update: TBD
Indicator Lamp Color Scheme - Basis for Standards Requirement

Summary
The indicator lamp color scheme requirement in the standards is perceived as being
inconsistent between the electrical and process disciplines. In fact, the requirements are
consistent with industry practice when consideration is given to what type of
information is intended to be transmitted to the people interacting with the equipment.
This SAER will explain the human-engineering and industrial basis for the different
lamp color selection.

Scope
2.1

Purpose
The purpose of this SAER is to document the basis for the Saudi Aramco
mandatory standards requiring the particular lamp color scheme for electrical
and process equipment.

2.2

Disclaimer
Any recommendations in this SAER are not mandatory. If there is a conflict
between this SAER and MSAERs, the MSAERs requirements take precedence.

Definitions
Text identified in bold font throughout this document is defined below.
EIV: Emergency Isolation Valve
MSAER: Mandatory Saudi Aramco Engineering Requirements. These documents are
corporate mandatory documents. Examples of MSAERs are Saudi Aramco Materials
System Specifications (SAMSSs), Engineering Standards (SAESs) and Standard
Drawings (SASDs).
SAER: Saudi Aramco Engineering Report

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Document Responsibility: CSD/Electrical Systems Division


SAER-6427
Issue Date: 1 July 2012
Next Planned Update: TBD
Indicator Lamp Color Scheme - Basis for Standards Requirement

Lamp Color Requirement


Indicator lamps are provided on most electrical and process control equipment both at
remote and local field stations, indoor and outdoor. They are used to provide feedback
to the people that interface with the equipment as to the operating state of the
equipment.
The people that interface with the equipment have different responsibilities and are
looking for different information. Plant Operators want feedback on whether or not
equipment is operating. Electrical Operators/Technicians want feedback as to whether
the equipment is safe to maintain.
The term operating may be obvious for a pump; operating means the pump is on,
moving. For more static equipment, such as an electrical circuit breaker or on-off valve
the term operating isnt an appropriate term. The circuit breaker or valve can be in
two static states; open or closed. It isnt obvious whether the lamp indicating color for a
running pump should be the same as a closed breaker.
4.1

Electrical Equipment
For electrical equipment (i.e., switchgear, controlgear, transfer switches,
enclosed starters, etc.), the operators or technicians are mostly interested in
whether the equipment is performing its intended function and whether it is safe
to work on. Is it:
- ENERGIZED. Electricity is connected to the process equipment.
- DE-ENERGIZED. Electricity is disconnected from the process equipment
Consequently, the industrial standards require the following lamp indicator color:
- RED. Motor running, breaker closed, power on, etc. In other words,
RED = DANGEROUS
- GREEN. Motor stopped, breaker open, power off, etc. In other words,
GREEN = SAFE

4.2

Process and Control Equipment


For process control equipment (i.e., pumps, valves, etc.), the operators or
technicians are mostly interested in the operational state of the equipment.
The color reflects whether or not the equipment is contributing to the normal
functioning of the process.

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Document Responsibility: CSD/Electrical Systems Division


SAER-6427
Issue Date: 1 July 2012
Next Planned Update: TBD
Indicator Lamp Color Scheme - Basis for Standards Requirement

Consequently, the industrial standards require the following lamp indicator color:
- RED: Pump stopped, heater off, isolation valve closed. (i.e., Abnormal
Operation)
- GREEN. Pump operating, heater on, isolation valve open (i.e., Normal
Operation)
On-Off valves are similar to electrical circuit breakers in that there are two
distinct, static states; open and closed. Unlike a circuit breaker there is no
obvious normal/safe position. Normal may be an open valve in one process
situation and abnormal in another. The safe state of an EIV for example, is
determined during the process safety hazard analysis (HAZOP). For example,
for a normally open, fail closed EIV the normal process state would be open.
For this example, a green lamp would indicate the valve is open (normal), a red
lamp would indicate the valve is closed (abnormal).
5

Industry Practice
Generally defined by NFPA 79 and ISA SP 5.5, extracts below:
5.1

NFPA 79 extract

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Document Responsibility: CSD/Electrical Systems Division


SAER-6427
Issue Date: 1 July 2012
Next Planned Update: TBD
Indicator Lamp Color Scheme - Basis for Standards Requirement

5.2

ISA SP 5.5 extract. Basis for Saudi Aramco Instrument and Control Convention

Consistency between Disciplines


As previously stated the color scheme depends upon the type of information that the
operator is expecting.
Referring to below, for an electric motor for example, the operator of the motor
controller or the technician is expecting the light to provide information that relates to
his safety (Safety of Persons). Therefore, GREEN means SAFE, RED means
energized or DANGER.
The process operator at the field motor location is interested in the Condition of the
Process or the State of the Equipment. GREEN means NORMAL, RED means
FAULTY/ABNORMAL.
The foundation for the perception that there is inconsistency is rooted in the assumption
that energized equipment should be identified as DANGEROUS to all people, which
isnt the case. What is dangerous to the electrical technician (i.e., energized motor
starter) is NORMAL to the process operators since the energized starter delivers power
to drive the pump to keep his process NORMAL.

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Document Responsibility: CSD/Electrical Systems Division


SAER-6427
Issue Date: 1 July 2012
Next Planned Update: TBD
Indicator Lamp Color Scheme - Basis for Standards Requirement

Conclusion
Although it may seem that the indicator color schemes used within Saudi Aramco are
different between the electrical vs. process operator disciplines, the scheme is consistent
with industrial practices and logical.
The foundation to this perceived difference is based upon the assumption that all people
that interface with the equipment in the plants require the same information.
The people that interface with the equipment have different responsibilities and are
looking for different information. Therefore, what may be considered a dangerous
state to the electrical operator (e.g., closed breaker) results in a normal state to a
process operator since the closed breaker results in the process pump running.

References/Acknowledgement
Acknowledgement to Patrick Flanders, Engineering Consultant, Process & Control
Systems Department for his contribution to this report.

1 July 2012

Revision Summary
New Saudi Aramco Engineering Report.

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Document Responsibility: CSD/Electrical Systems Division


SAER-6427
Issue Date: 1 July 2012
Next Planned Update: TBD
Indicator Lamp Color Scheme - Basis for Standards Requirement

Appendix A
Extracts from Saudi Aramco Standards
16-SAMSS-503 extract

SAES-P-116 extract

Page 7 of 13

Document Responsibility: CSD/Electrical Systems Division


SAER-6427
Issue Date: 1 July 2012
Next Planned Update: TBD
Indicator Lamp Color Scheme - Basis for Standards Requirement

Appendix A contd
Extracts from Saudi Aramco Standards
34-SAMSS-831 extract

34-SAMSS-634 extract

Page 8 of 13

Document Responsibility: CSD/Electrical Systems Division


SAER-6427
Issue Date: 1 July 2012
Next Planned Update: TBD
Indicator Lamp Color Scheme - Basis for Standards Requirement

Appendix B
Extracts from NFPA 70 (National Electrical Code)
517.160(B)(1), 2011 extract

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Document Responsibility: CSD/Electrical Systems Division


SAER-6427
Issue Date: 1 July 2012
Next Planned Update: TBD
Indicator Lamp Color Scheme - Basis for Standards Requirement

Appendix C
Motor Starter

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Document Responsibility: CSD/Electrical Systems Division


SAER-6427
Issue Date: 1 July 2012
Next Planned Update: TBD
Indicator Lamp Color Scheme - Basis for Standards Requirement

Appendix D
Emergency Isolation Valve (EIV)

Page 11 of 13

Document Responsibility: CSD/Electrical Systems Division


SAER-6427
Issue Date: 1 July 2012
Next Planned Update: TBD
Indicator Lamp Color Scheme - Basis for Standards Requirement

Appendix E
Typical Consultation Request

Page 12 of 13

Document Responsibility: CSD/Electrical Systems Division


SAER-6427
Issue Date: 1 July 2012
Next Planned Update: TBD
Indicator Lamp Color Scheme - Basis for Standards Requirement

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