Machinery Safety Standards Survey

Consistent with the globalization of products, similar trends are happening in the world of standards, where standards are being harmonized across boundaries through organizations such as IEC and ISO but also between these two organizations as well.

To determine how best to proceed with the merging of the ISO 13849-1 and IEC 62061 standards related to the “Design of safety related controls/control systems for machinery–Experiences” the Joint Working Group (JWG) is starting with a survey.  The scopes for the two standards are as follows:
ISO 13849-1 “Safety of machinery - Safety-related parts of control systems - Part 1: General principles for design” provides safety requirements and guidance on the principles for the design and integration of safety-related parts of control systems (SRP/CS), regardless of the type of technology and energy used (electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic, mechanical, etc.), for all kinds of machinery including the design of software. The standard specifies characteristics that include the performance level required for carrying out safety functions but does not specify the safety functions or performance levels that are to be used in a particular case. In particular, ISO 13849-1:2006 provides specific requirements for SRP/CS using programmable electronic system(s).

IEC TC44 has published a similar document, “IEC 62061 ed1.0 Safety of machinery - Functional safety of safety-related electrical, electronic and programmable electronic control systems” that specifies requirements and makes recommendations for the design, integration and validation of safety-related electrical, electronic and programmable electronic control systems (SRECS) for machines. It is applicable to control systems used, either singly or in combination, to carry out safety-related control functions on machines that are not had portable while operating and includes clusters of machines working together in a coordinated manner.

As the survey’s opening page states the purpose of the survey is: “To initiate information exchange between the industry (standard users) and the standardization experts.”

The collected survey answers will be analyzed in detail by a study group (JWG1) in order to identify: the difficulties regarding the application of the current standards from the field, proposals for improvements, the opportunity to organize symposium/workshops in order to intensify the dialog between standard users and JWG1 members within some countries. The synthesis of the analysis will be forwarded by JWG1 to the participating National standardization offices.

If you are interested in participating in the survey, it can be found at and I encourage you to do so sooner rather than later as I was unable to see the date that the survey is to be closed.

Ian Verhappen is a contributor and blogger for Control and Control Design. He has 25+ years experience in instrumentation, controls and automation. You can email him at or check out his Google+ profile.