Machinery Safety 101

New Guide to Applying ISO 13849 – 1 and IEC 62061

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applic­a­tion of IEC 62061 and ISO 13849 – 1, found in the com­mon intro­duc­tion to both stand­ards and which is now out of date.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!

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