New Guide to Applying ISO 13849-1 and IEC 62061

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series IEC/TR 62061-1

One of the big challenges facing machine builders has been choosing between ISO 13849-1 and IEC 62061. The IEC published a new guide at the end of July, 2010 called Technical Report IEC/TR 62061-1 ed1.0 Guidance on the application of ISO 13849-1 and IEC 62061 in the design of safety-related control systems for machinery. The new 38-page guide is available as a hard copy or a PDF file. Written jointly by Technical Committee IEC/TC 44, Safety of machinery – Electrotechnical aspects and Technical Committee ISO/TC 199, Safety of machinery. The Technical Report was published in parallel by ISO as ISO/TR 23849.

Technical Reports don’t have the same status as International Standards, but provide the TC’s with  a means to provide guidance and explanation to help users implement the standard.

Table of Contents

Since this is a copyrighted document, I can’t reproduce it here. Instead, here’s the Table of Contents that will give you some idea of  the document’s contents.

Cover of IEC/TR 62061-1
IEC/TR 62061-1
  1. Scope
  2. General
  3. Comparison of standards
  4. Risk estimation and assignment of required performance
  5. Safety requirements specification
  6. Assignment of performance targets: PL versus SIL
  7. System design
  8. Example
  9. Bibliography

Merger Coming Soon

The introduction to the TR indicates that it will be incorporated into both IEC 62061 and ISO 13849-1 through a corrigenda that references this new document. The corrigenda will also remove the information given in Table 1, Recommended application of IEC 62061 and ISO 13849-1, found in the common introduction to both standards and which is now out of date.

At some point in the near future, IEC and ISO  intend that ISO 13849-1 and IEC 62061 will be merged. A  Joint Working Group (JWG) of ISO/TC 199 and IEC/TC 44 will be formed to complete this task. No public time line has been set for this activity, however the Introduction to the Technical Report suggests that it may be a few years yet, as the TC’s involved want to get some feedback from users on the latest versions. If I had to hazard a guess, I would suggest that the new merged document might make its first appearance in 2013 when the current edition of ISO 13849-1 comes up for maintenance revision. I guess we’ll have to wait and see whether I’m right on that or not. In any case, I as a user of the standards, I am wholeheartedly behind the merger, and hopefully the simplification, of these standards to make them more accessible to the machine building community.


A bilingual (English and French) version of IEC/TR 62061-1 edition 1.0 is available.

ISO/TR 23849:2010 is available as a 14-page document, in either English or French.

Download IEC standards, International Electrotechnical Commission standards.

Watch for my review of this important new document coming in the next few days!

Series NavigationIEC/TR 62061-1 Reviewed

Author: Doug Nix

+DougNix is Managing Director and Principal Consultant at Compliance InSight Consulting, Inc. ( in Kitchener, Ontario, and is Lead Author and Managing Editor of the Machinery Safety 101 blog.

Doug's work includes teaching machinery risk assessment techniques privately and through Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning in Kitchener, Ontario, as well as providing technical services and training programs to clients related to risk assessment, industrial machinery safety, safety-related control system integration and reliability, laser safety and regulatory conformity.

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