UL White Paper Explains the Key Changes in IEC 61508:2010

Oct. 13, 2011

First published in 1998, IEC 61508 is the principal standard of functional safety. The second edition of the standard—IEC 61508:2010—has been in effect since April 2010, and covers those aspects to be considered when electrical/electronic/programmable electronic (E/E/PE) systems are used to carry out safety functions. This second edition cancels and replaces the first edition, as it constitutes a technical revision.

A new White Paper by Underwriters Laboratories, “Understanding Key Changes in IEC 61508:2010,” is now available for those looking to master the new edition of IEC 61508. A major objective of this standard is to facilitate the development of product and application sector international standards by the related technical committees. This will allow all the relevant factors associated with the product or application to be taken into account fully and thereby meet the specific needs of users of the product and application sector. A second objective of this standard is to enable the development of E/E/PE safety-related systems where product or application sector international standards do not exist.

The significant and basic aspects of functional safety development, evaluation, and verification remain in the second edition, including the overall safety lifecycle, use of the V-Model for implementation of software development in particular, and the assessment of performance using Failure Mode Effects Analysis (FMEA) and other probabilistic calculations. However, important changes have particular impact on component manufacturers, resulting in a higher degree of confidence for manufacturers, integrators, and end users alike, albeit with a bit more work involved in becoming compliant with the revised standard.

The key changes occur in five critical areas of focus:
1. Traceability
2. Elements
3. On-chip redundancy
4. EMC requirements
5. Clearer definitions of failure types

To access this informative White Paper directly, go to: http://www.ul.com/global/documents/offerings/industries/powerandcontrols/UL_WhitePaper_2nd_Edition_IEC61508.pdf.

For more information on how UL can help you with your functional safety needs, please contact Kevin Connelly at 631-546-2691, [email protected], or go to the Web at www.ul.com/functionalsafety

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