Rapid growth of ABB’s Safety Execution Centers underscores global demand for reliable safety solutions

Aug. 11, 2014
ABB’s global network of Safety Execution Centers (SEC) has grown significantly over the past four years, expanding from ten to thirty centers located within every region and supporting high hazard industrial sectors.

ABB’s global network of Safety Execution Centers (SEC) has grown significantly over the past four years, expanding from ten to thirty centers located within every region and supporting high hazard industrial sectors. These centers provide ABB customers with in-country dedicated and competent functional safety resources for safety instrumented system (SIS) project execution, design, engineering, modification and maintenance. The centers also provide access to local safety standard experts and technology experts. Globally, ABB has more than 700 TÜV, CFSE-certified and ABB technology-certified safety engineers.

ABB has more safety centers than any other supplier in the industry, providing individual accreditation (either TÜV Rheinland or TÜV SÜD) for each country for Functional Safety Management System (FSMS) delivery, implementation, operations and maintenance. These TÜV groups lead the world in assessment and certification of organizations, their products and safety standards, as well as running individual competency certification schemes. ABB uses these third party accreditation models to ensure:

  • Integrity
  • Objectivity, competence, impartiality
  • Reduction in both business and technical risk
  • Transparency and consistency
  • Proven in-country competence which is local and robust
  • Mutual international recognition of certificates
  • Annual surveillance
  • Due diligence
  • Regulatory/licensing body recognition

ABB’s proven method for delivering safety systems meets international standards and good practices, and ensures consistent, flawless execution of these projects all over the world.

ABB is recognized for its strong local business presence in its many locations throughout the world. This is based on the trend towards customer requirements for local competent resources to deliver their safety related projects. The TÜV-certified Safety Execution Centers provide local assurance in contrast to a centralized pool of resources and procedures. ABB’s strong local presence ensures:

Conformity to the local relevant legislation and standards can be specifically addressed in the FSMS as opposed to the difficulties of trying to adopt one company centralized FSMS i.e. for robust functional safety management systems, one size does not fit all

  • Local cultural, regulatory and ‘good engineering practice’ aspects can be addressed in the FSMS and can easily accommodate its many revisions over time
  • Different FSMS status, progress, activities and lifecycle phases can be addressed
  • Less audit and evaluation effort is required by the end-user based on the local FSMS characteristics
  • A strong core presence of competent and resident FS resources is retained so that the customer can demonstrate that competency is readily available
  • Clients have a higher degree of confidence and increased functional safety assurance in the local certification processes in contrast to one overriding global certificate
  • There is no dilution of the focus and commitment to functional safety both globally and locally
  • In-country management has commitment and a strong focus to FS certification and competency supported by global senior management strategic direction and global game plan

“ABB is committed to providing our customers with the resources, technology and tools they need to help them operate their plants more safely, as well as protect their employees, the environment and the surrounding community,” said Stuart Nunns, Managing Consultant at ABB’s globally focused Safety Lead Competency Centre in the United Kingdom.

“The need for local reliable engineering resources and quality safety automation solutions has grown exponentially over the past few years. The depth and scope of our regulatory, technical and project execution knowledge provides our customers with the trusted expertise they need to successfully protect the integrity of their process, plant and people.”

ABB’s strategy is held up by Heinz Gall representing the Certification Body of TÜV Rheinland for FSMS Certification, “We definitely support the approach of ABB having individual worldwide FSM Certification. We from TÜV Rheinland do not recommend a single ‘global’ FSM certificate for multisite-multi-country certification.

Our safety philosophy requires an in-depth judgment of each single location in order to confirm correct understanding and application of expected safety requirements. As such the motivation for accountability and compliance on safety requirements would be high using the local management/design teams as opposed to reliance on central management organization(s). In addition, single certification or multisite-certification concept could involve sampling and our experience shows this is not adequate for Safety. As part of our quality, the audits are based on a wide range of necessary topics for all phases within Design & Engineering to ensure our clients are effectively applying the said FSM procedures”.

“The cooperation with regional ABB Safety Managers and their teams was very effective. Their organizational structures, procedures and competencies have been individually audited on a high quality level. According to our experience this level can only be reached by this individual worldwide FSM Certification Concept”, says Thomas Huber, Product Manager for FSM Certification TÜV Rheinland worldwide.

Peter Weiß from TÜV SUD Rail GmbH comments “TÜV SUD, as an accredited laboratory, provides certification services to ABB as part of ABB's global certification program for its Safety Execution Centers (SECs). The ABB approach of having individual certificates for each SEC is appropriate for a large international organization with regional safety centers. It ensures motivation and commitment from ABB's local management and engineering groups supported by TÜV SUD annual audits to ensure that their IEC 61508/61511 functional safety management system is effectively applied'.

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