ABB shares Functional Safety expertise with release of new guide

14 July 2008

A new guide explaining all you need to know about Functional Safety is now available from ABB.

Entitled ‘A methodology for achieving Functional Safety certification to IEC61508’, the guide provides a detailed explanation of the key areas that users need to consider when designing, implementing and operating a functional safety programme.

Written by ABB’s safety expert Stuart Nunns, the guide is based on a real example involving a global company which undertook third-party accreditation for its functional safety management against the requirements of IEC 61508 and IEC 61511. With thirty-six years’ experience in automation and safety within the oil and gas, chemical, steel and electricity generation sectors, Nunns is a TUV Functional Safety Expert and member of the IET Functional Safety Professional Network Executive Group and the InstMC’s Safety Panel.

Divided into four sections across 13 chapters, the guide focuses on the key stages in the creation and operation of a Functional Safety Management programme, namely:

* Setting the strategy and defining the boundaries
This section covers the initial stages in creating a Functional Safety strategy, including putting the basics in place and defining the boundaries of the strategy to ensure that all necessary considerations are covered.

* Specifying competency and benchmarking current practice
It is essential to ensure providers of safety-related products and services are competent to handle the design and implementation of safety systems. This section explains how to ensure providers are both competent and taking steps to maintain and update their knowledge of the latest safety-related legislation and codes of good practice. An approach to selecting a third-party certification body is also presented.

*The safety lifecycle and developing the Functional Safety Management system
This part covers the steps involved in developing the safety lifecycle model and Functional Safety Management system. It sets out the main areas that need to be considered when designing a safety lifecycle model, including definitions of terminology, and explains what’s involved and what users need to do to progress to the next stage.

* The certification process and supporting activities
The final part of the guide discusses the process involved in certifying a Functional Safety Management system and advises on what organisations need to do to keep their certification up to date, through key areas such as training, supporting activities for the storage of data and management of third parties and channel partners.

The guide provides an excellent point of reference for any organisation seeking to gain Functional Safety accredited certification.

'There are strong regulatory and social demands for businesses to demonstrate they are exercising their duty of care in providing a safe, reliable operation,' says Stuart Nunns. 'Achieving accredited certification is a significant undertaking and requires a comprehensive work programme as well as the commitment of management at the highest level. However, for organisations that successfully achieve accreditation, it can be an invaluable opportunity to differentiate themselves and secure market advantage.'

Having followed Nunns’ advice, in line with the recommendations included in the guide, ABB in the UK is the first UK company to achieve Functional Safety management certification from TUV Rheinland, for its safety system implementation and delivery centre in St. Neots. In addition ABB UK has certified functional safety engineers through the TUV Rheinland scheme.

For your free copy of the guide, email ref. ‘Functional Safety guide’, together with your name, company and address details. The guide is also available in PDF format on request.

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