Safety and Loss Prevention

Functional Safety

What is functional safety?

Functional safety is an engineering topic concerning the provision and performance of electrical, electronic or programmable electronic elements used to perform safety functions.

Core to the area of functional safety for a chemical engineer are two standards:

  • IEC61508 is a 'master' standard on the subject, applicable to several different industries
  • IEC61511 is a standard for applying functional safety in a process industry context

Both of these standards has several Parts, plus there are supporting appendices. For each standard, Part 1 is normative (i.e. mandatory).

Here is a set of slides showing the typical role of a safety function in the process industries.

The SIG's work on functional safety

The SIG has an ongoing project to publish resources on the topic of functional safety. Over coming months, more material will be published to this section of the website.

The first topic we have published some information on is functional safety management, which is a requirement of Part 1 of both IEC61508 and IEC61511.