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Arrr You Safe?

| Functional Safety Certification


Arrr you safe?

In honor of the upcoming “Talk Like a Pirate” Day on September 19, I offer this lighthearted look at PIU assessment.

Captain (C)

“Ahoy me bucko!  We be attemptin’ to get our transmitter design certified.  It’s been shippin’ fer a few years now.  We don’t got a lot of whatcha might call ‘formal documentation’ about how it be built, but aye, we musta done somethin’ right to keep ‘em workin’ this long… that’s gotta count fer somethin’, savvy?”

Assessor (A):

“You may qualify for a proven-in-use assessment.  How long has the transmitter been in service?  Do you have an operation history log?”


C:

“For sure we do, laddy; we be keepin’ those records in me private cabin.  We got records of everything that went out the doors since we plundered this … I mean, took ownership of this here company.”

A:

“Well, what kind of records of field failures and repairs do you keep?  Do you have a log of reported problems and how those problems were fixed?”


C:

“Well, now, we don’t write down every little hiccup and bump; we got some work-arounds ‘til final repairs be made on a more permanent basis; Arrrgh, we know what’s gotta get done to keep this cash cow goin’, ya bilge rat… er, I mean yer lordship.”  Come ta think of it, we did have some leakage problems in the transmitter housing that cost us a tidy sum to fix… we’re gonna need to have a lively talk with that there merchant!”

A:

“How do you go about making changes?  Do you have a change management process?”


C:

“Aye, that we do; when I gets me a good idea, I just bark out the orders and it gets done smartly.  I got the plan right here in me noggin’.  If’n I don’t like the way ‘twas done, then the poor swab is keel-hauled when I takes me boat out on the weekend… shiver me timbers, that always goes well with a bottle of Jamaican rum!””

A:

“Were any other changes or improvements made in the past 2 years?”


C:

“We did add an extended range, but we had some, uh, let’s say ‘operational difficulties’.  When the design lubber took ill, we had to hurry up and finish the bloody job to catch up with the competition… we got deadlines, ya know.  We could only test it once we got to the oil platform out on the open sea… unfortunately the first 2 volunteers ended up in Davy Jones’ locker.”

A:

“So, did you follow a formal test plan?”


C:

“Aww, laddy, we don’t have time to be testin’ every little thing!”

A:

“So let me see… you have some operation records, but no formal change process, no change request approval board, no formal test plans, no way to create and review requirements, and you do not have any formal root cause analysis for failures… do I have that right?”

C:

“I be gettin’ a bad feelin’ ‘bout this here assessment…”


Tagged as:     Proven-In-use     PIU Assessment     PIU     john yozallinas  


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

John Yozallinas, a Senior Safety Engineer and Certified Functional Safety Expert (CFSE), has over 30 years of experience in industrial control systems and instrumentation. He currently provides process evaluation, technical training and support to Industrial Automation and Automotive vendors in the areas of safety, reliability and cyber security. He is responsible for product assessments and certifications for functional safety standards including IEC 61508, IEC 61511, ISO 26262 and ISO 13849. As part of this work, he also performs gap analysis, software criticality analysis, and proven-in-use analysis.

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