Machine safety standard merger: One global machine safety standard

In a few years, could we just have one functional safety standard? The world has two predominantly accepted functional safety standards for machinery: IEC 62061, Safety of machinery: Functional safety of electrical, electronic and programmable electronic control systems, and ISO 13849-1, Safety of machinery - Safety-related parts of control systems - Part 1: General principles for design.


Might there be global harmony in functional safety standards for machinery? There's a working group for that. Courtesy: Control Engineering Machine Safety Blog, JB Titus and AssociatesA joint working group is looking at global functional safety standard unification. At present, there are two predominantly accepted functional safety standards for machinery in the world:

  • IEC 62061, Safety of machinery: Functional safety of electrical, electronic and programmable electronic control systems, and
  • ISO 13849-1, Safety of machinery - Safety-related parts of control systems - Part 1: General principles for design 

These two standards are often used together by machine original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to design and build the safety-related parts of the machine control system. Safety experts generally feel that, for a machine’s safety system, 62061 handles the more complex components best and that 13849-1 handles the less complex components and field devices best for a total solution. They have been in use together for the past eight years and were needed in part because technology advancements required more guidance for their proper application to achieve intended safety functions reliably.

Work is underway

A joint working group has been formed and is currently working on this project. The new combined functional safety standard has been designated IEC/ISO 17305 and is tentatively scheduled for release in 2016 with a two-year transition period.

In my opinion, for 17305 to be successful it should:

  • Make life simpler for users
  • Resolve some existing issues
  • Capitalize on the best achievements of each standard. 

It seems this direction has commitment from standards bodies because maintenance work on 62061 and 13849-1 has virtually stopped. It also seems that the existing updated standards are improving levels of safety because they are requiring designers to incorporate all aspects relative to the life cycle reliability of components used in safety circuits. Safety rated components are recommended while allowing standard components. However, reliability data is required by the calculations for all safety rated or standard components engineered into a safety circuit.

Even though many countries have their national (or domestic) safety standards, global trade is increasing and this activity increases the need for global standards. As the merging process continues, it is not anticipated that newer, more complex requirements will be added. The bottom line is that it appears global industry is driving to achieve clarification and simplification for one standard, helping OEMs to provide safer and fewer designs more competitively.

Has this presented you with any new perspectives? Do you have some specific topic or interest that we could cover in future blog posts? Add your comments or thoughts to the discussion by submitting your ideas, experiences, and challenges in the comments section below.

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Raising the standard: What's new with NFPA 70E; A global view of manufacturing; Maintenance data; Fit bearings properly
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Upgrading secondary control systems; Keeping enclosures conditioned; Diagnostics increase equipment uptime; Mechatronics simplifies machine design
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.