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Functional Safety: ISO 13849

  Functional Safety, Introduction
  Reliability vs. Safety
  IEC 61508
  ISO 13849
  IEC 61508 vs. ISO 13849 
  Summary
ISO 13849 is a functional safety standard. Although being a derivative of the umbrella standard IEC 61508, ISO 13849 has some unique differentiators.
This paragraph is a little on the short side because it explains only the differences.
The next page will have much more details.

The title of ISO 13849 is:

Safety of Machinery - Safety-related parts of control systems

Key differentiators:
  1. Universally applicable (1). ISO 13849 is applicable for all industries, as long as there are no industry specific standards. From all IEC 61508 derived standards, ISO 13849 is the only one with unrestricted applicability. 
    • Of course, this is what this standard tells us. Practice however looks substantially different.
  2. Universally applicable (2). In contrast to IEC 61508, ISO 13849 covers not only electronics and software, but also pneumatics and hydraulics. By giving guidance on all system types (with the exception of mechanics), ISO 13849 facilitates its application for the safety analyst.
    • Again, practice looks a bit different.
  3. Two-dimensional classification of safety. While IEC 61508 uses only one key indicator (PFH or SIL), ISO 13849 has two: Category and performance level. See next page for more details. 
    • This two-dimensionality looks like an enhancement at first glance, but in reality it is a restriction.
    • ISO 25119 (functional safety standard for agricultural machines) also uses Category and performance level.
  4. Ready to use. ISO 13849 can be conceived as an easy-to-digest version of IEC 61508. ISO 13849 takes the safety analyst by the hand and, by restricting the degrees of freedom substantially, clearly tells him what to do.
If the analyst is allowed to chose the safety standard, I strongly recommend IEC-61508 in any case without exception, even if the subject under consideration is not mainly consisting of electronics.

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