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Introduction to Functional Safety

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Introduction to Functional Safety

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22 Hours
Course overview

Functional safety is the achievement of safety through the application of control systems and requires identifying what must be done to prevent the hazardous event from occurring and how well it should be done in terms of the system performance. Such systems, in the context of this course are referred to generically as Electrical / Electronic / Programmable (E/E/PE) safety-related systems.

The achievement of functional safety is a multi-disciplinary approach involving a wide range of disciplines including, control and instrumentation engineers, mechanical engineers, chemical engineers, electrical engineers and plant managers and engineers.

In the context of this course “E/E/PE safety-related systems” refers to those systems that are intended to achieve, together with the other risk reduction measures, the necessary risk reduction to meet the required tolerable risk. Increasingly, E/E/PE safety-related systems form an essential part of the overall framework for the achievement of a tolerable risk.

The course is based on international standard IEC 61508, “Functional safety of Electrical, Electronic, and Programmable Electronic safety-related systems” which is a standard which can be used on its own but also has the status of a basic functional safety standard from which other functional safety standards are based.

This course provides a sound basis for anyone involved in the management, specification, design, system integration, operation, modification, and maintenance of safety-related systems.

We have developed a workbook to go alongside this E-Learning course.  It comprises of:

  • A copy of all the slides that are shown on the screen; and,
  • All the text of the voiceovers of the slides; and,
  • A section where you can make your own notes (through an editable PDF)

The Workbook will be available as a download for your own use on a permanent basis.  

All prices shown are exclusive of VAT which will be added at checkout.

Further Information
More Information
Level Technical
Partner Details

Ron Bell, OBE, B.Sc. (Hons), CEng, FIET, FS Expert (TÜV Rheinland, # 258 /15, SIS). Principal Consultant, Engineering Safety Consultants (ESC) Limited which is an ERM Group Company. 

From 1992 until 2006, Ron Bell was Head of the Electrical and Control Systems Group in the Health and Safety Executive. In 1998, he was appointed as one of the five UK members of the binational Channel Tunnel Safety Authority, which is a position he held for 13 years. He chairs one of the two IEC working groups responsible for IEC 61508 (the international standard dealing with safety critical systems). He continues to hold that position which he has held since 1988.

He is the author, some jointly, of more than 40 technical publications, including approximately 20 SCI-cited publications.

Honours & Awards:

  • In 2005, he received the IEC 1906 Award for his work on functional safety and IEC 61508.
  • He held a 3-year appointment (2015-2018) as a Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor at Liverpool John Moores University.
  • He received the Annual Prize in 2014 by the Institute of Measurement and Control (London Section) for Outstanding Contribution to Instrument Engineering.
  • He was awarded the 2020 Mukaidono Safety Award, in recognition of distinguished services in the international standardisation of functional safety
  • He received the OBE in the Queen's 2006 New Year Honours.

Ron is the lead author of this course. 


EUR ING David Green BEng (hons) CEng MIET FInstMC FS Expert (TÜV Rheinland, # 277/17, SIS), RFSE, CMSE®

David is a Chartered Engineer (CEng), registered European Engineer (EUR ING) and Registered Functional Safety Engineer (InstMC) with more than 18 years’ experience in safety-related applications, within machinery and process systems. He is a certified TÜV Rheinland Functional Safety Expert and ‘Reliability and Functional Safety Engineer’ (Technik) in Safety Instrumented Systems. He is also a TÜV Nord Certified Machinery Safety Expert.

David has spent most of his career working in upper tier COMAH manufacturing sites, maintaining the instrumentation systems on the organisation’s behalf including the role of technical lead for Safety Lifecycle Management for five years at the UK’s second largest Refinery. These activities involved working with external agencies and representing the company in front of the UK regulators. He is now focusing on consultation in risk engineering services. His work involves interacting with companies in multiple industries to ensure compliance to relevant industry standards globally, having led Functional / Machinery Safety work scopes in the UK, mainland Europe, Middle East and West Indies.


Dr Fan Ye, CFSE, FS Eng (TÜV Rheinland), GICSP, CEng, MIET, Principal Consultant, Engineering Safety Consultants (ESC) Limited (An ERM Group Company)

Dr Fan Ye has worked in safety consultancy in industries including oil and gas, chemical, nuclear power and defence since completing his PhD in 2005. Fan is a Charted Engineer (CEng) by the Engineering Council via IET. He is a Certified Functional Safety Expert (CFSE) and TÜV Rhineland and Technis certified Functional Safety Engineer. He is a GIAC certified Global Industrial Control Security Professional (GICSP). His expertise lies in the areas of hazard identification and risk assessment, safety case development, safety management, system reliability, and Industrial Control system (ICS) cyber security.

Fan is a committee member of the BSI GEL/65/1, the IEC 61508 Part 3 and IEC WG10 for IEC 62443 series. Fan has extensive knowledge on international safety standards such as IEC 61508, IEC 61511 and UK Defence Standards and Military of Defence (MoD) policy.

Fan has chaired and facilitated numerous HAZOP and SIL determination (LOPA) studies in the UK and Middle East. He has also led a number of SIL verification studies, Functional Safety Assessments and Quantitative Risk Assessments (QRAs) for major projects. Fan has delivered numerous training courses on the topics of functional safety (IEC 61508/IEC 61511), safety-related software (IEC 61508-3) and ICS cyber security (IEC 62443). He has also been a guest speaker at various conferences and workshops organised by institutions such as IET, The Safety-Critical Systems Club (SCSC) and InstMc.



Type Course
What you will learn
The course comprises 11 Modules. An illustration of some of the learning points in the course are listed below:

• Understand the course is based on the concepts and requirements of international standard IEC 61508
• Understand the concept of functional safety and its relationship to safety
• Understand the terminology relating to systems and risk concepts
• Understand the overall system architecture comprising the Equipment Under Control (EUC), the EUC Control System and the Electrical/Electronic/Programmable Electronic (E/E/PE) safety-rated system
• Understand the concept of Safety Integrity Level (SIL) in the context of Electrical/Electronic/Programmable Electronic (E/E/PE) safety-rated systems
• Learn about Multiple Layers of Protection & Mitigation
• Understand the role that the SIL of a safety function plays in achieving the Target Risk
• Understand the concept of Safety Lifecycles and the role they play in the achievement of functional safety
• Learn about the System Safety Requirements Specification and the System Design Requirements Specification
• Understand what compliance to IEC 61508 means
• Understand the concept of Safe and Dangerous Failures in the context of Safety Functions
• Learn about Random Hardware failures and Systematic Failures
• Understand how Hardware Safety Integrity is achieved
• Learn about how the Target Failure Measure for the safety function is calculated based on random hardware failure data
• Learn about the sources of random hardware failure data
• Learn about Proof Testing of safety functions
• Understand the concept of Architectural Constraints and its role in the achievement of Hardware Safety Integrity
• Learn about the key parameters that determine the maximum SIL that can be claimed for a specific safety function
• Understand the concept of Systematic Safety Integrity and Systematic Capability
• Learn about the design requirements to achieve the Systematic Safety Integrity for E/E/PE safety-related system in respect of a specified safety function
• Understand Assurance Measures comprising: Verification, Validation, Functional Safety Assessment and Functional Safety Audit and the role of independence plays in the application of Assurance Measures
• Understand the role that management plays in the achievement functional safety Learn
• Learn about some of the key requirements in management of functional safety including competence
• Understand the concept of As Low as Reasonably Practicable (ALARP) in the context of E/E/PE safety-related systems
• Learn about Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) and the role it plays in the ALARP demonstration
Who should learn
This course is suitable for technical staff, and managerial staff managing functional safety, or involved with, the specification, design, system integration and maintenance involving complex E/E/PE safety-related systems.
Units included in this course