Have you even wondered, been involved, or WERE the little kid that didn’t listen to your parents, but always listened to a teacher? This is called the “Third party effect.” In business, it is well known that the power of persuasion can be the most effective by a third party. Some of the benefits to a third party are: an unbiased opinion, impartiality and a fresh look on a situation.
When dealing with Functional Safety, having a third party analysis keeps a company from overlooking key safety parameters, or from looking the other way on a nuisance safety function that seems to be in the way more than to help.
In functional safety, 3rd party services start with the company itself. They hire an organization, a certifying body (CB), to come in and assess their product or system.
If you peel back the onion another layer, there are organizations called an accreditation body (AB) that make sure the certifying bodies do their job correctly and are current with the standards in today’s society.
Each country has its own AB who accredits the certifying agency. For example, in the United States of America, the American National Standard Institutes (ANSI) is the accreditation body for functional safety. In the United Kingdom functional safety accreditation is done by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS). Deutsche Akkreditierungsstelle GmbH (DAkkS) is the national accreditation body for the Federal Republic of Germany.
An AB organization is a member of the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) which establishes a peer evaluation process intended to ensure global consistency. The IAF Multilateral Recognition Arrangement (MLA) signatories include most countries of world. This is done to provide mutual recognition of certifications in all countries.
Can we peal the onion back any more? Sure we can, however, knowing that a certificate is valid throughout the world is the main concern. Make sure when you receive a certificate for your own product or a product you are purchasing that it has the AB logo on that certificate. This logo will confirm your product has gone through the correct channels and completed through an unbiased, impartial process.