BLOG: Balancing Safety and Adaptability: Understanding Overrides and Bridges in Process Plants

Process plants operate under dynamic conditions. Equipment failures and unexpected situations occur, sometimes requiring manual interventions to be applied. This blog explores the overrides and bridges process and explains how these temporary interventions ensure safety, compliance, and plant efficiency amidst complexities.
Engineers in high vis jackets and hats turning valve on pipe


Process plants are inherently complex. The complexity arises from the multitude of interconnected systems, diverse equipment and the intricate chemical and physical processes involved. 

Process plants must adhere to stringent safety and environmental regulations. Safety systems, emergency shutdown procedures, and environmental monitoring add complexity to the overall plant design and operations.

However, plants operate under dynamic conditions. Equipment failures and unexpected situations occur, sometimes requiring manual interventions to be applied. This is where overrides and bridges come in. 


Overrides in a plant refer to manual interventions or adjustments made by operators or engineers to temporarily override or bypass certain aspects of the automated control system. Examples include the override of a control loop or limit switch to manually adjust a valve position.

Bridges can include deviations in hardware, software, logic, or any element that contributes to the proper functioning of a system. These are always intended to be temporary in nature. They require management, including a change plan, approvals, and monitoring to ensure the bridge is removed and returned to its normal operational state.


Process diagram of the steps involved in an override or bridge


Initiation of Override or Bridge

First, we begin with initiating an override or bridge. This can be triggered by various factors, such as equipment malfunctions, unexpected events, or changes in operating conditions.


If a deviation is required, we can reference or document significant details like override type, date, time, and initial assessment.  

Risk Assessment
From here, we can conduct a risk assessment by evaluating the potential impact of the deviation on safety, quality, and overall plant operations.

If the risk is not acceptable, we can escalate this process by notifying higher management, safety officers, or other relevant parties to become acceptable.

Corrective Actions
Once the acceptable risk is approved, corrective actions are implemented. This can include equipment adjustments, procedure changes, or other measures to address the deviation.


From here, we can monitor the override periodically through dashboards, reports, and email reminders. The intent is to close the override and return to the nominal plant state as soon as possible.

Once the temporary override is removed, the override or bridge can be closed. To signify the closure of the override or bridge, you should update records, communicate outcomes and archive documentation.


Managing overrides and bridges in process plants involves a meticulous
process, from assessing risks to implementing corrective actions and
monitoring. Ultimately, the goal is to swiftly return the plant to its standard
operation while maintaining stringent safety and operational standards.


Asset Intellect removes the traditional cumbersome and manual
processes that come with overrides and bridges. Documentation, risk
assessments, approvals and monitoring can all be managed within the platform to
streamline and expedite the process, enabling a smarter, safer and more
efficient plant. Get in touch to learn more about Asset Intellect’s overrides
and bridges capability and how they can benefit your process plant

Jacinda Morgan

Jacinda Morgan

Jacinda is Dimension Software's resident Marketing Manager. With a career spanning tech to government to data and analytics, she enjoys bridging the gap between technical jargon and business know-how to deliver impactful and engaging content and campaigns.