Functional Safety and the IEC

IEC 61508

Functional Safety


IEC Standards+ training courses

Training sessions were led by
Ron Bell, one of the experts who
helped write IEC 61508

The IEC set up its first Standards+ courses on Functional Safety in 2009 to provide participants with additional training on the fundamentals of the IEC 61508 series of standards which includes several key elements: the management of Functional Safety; the technical requirements for the systems engineering, the hardware and the software; the competence of persons (currently informative but will become normative); and the assessment of Functional Safety.


IEC 61508, Functional safety of electrical, electronic and programmable electronic (E/E/PE) safety-related systems, is a voluminous and complex IEC International Standard. It is difficult to apply it correctly without guidance and training on the fundamentals.

What are the courses about?

The IEC Standards+ training courses were backed by the IEC and the experts of IEC SC (Subcommittee) 65A: Industrial-process measurement, control and automation - Systems aspects, who participated in the development of IEC 61508.


They provided participants with an understanding of:

  • Key aspects of IEC 61508 and its relationship with the other publications in the IEC 61508 series
  • Essentials of functional safety in the context of complex electronic systems
  • Risk-based approaches to the development of the safety requirements specification
  • The key compliance areas of:
    • Management of functional safety
    • Technical requirements for the systems, hardware and software
    • Competence of persons (currently informative but will become normative)
    • Functional safety assessment