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applic­a­tion of IEC 62061 and ISO 13849 – 1, found in the com­mon intro­duc­tion to both stand­ards and which is now out of date.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

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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