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application of IEC 62061 and ISO 13849-1, found in the common introduction to both standards and which is now out of date.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