The analysis of past safety accidents was conducted primarily regionally, and with companies having an “experienced” workforce. Today the global economy is undergoing major shifts in manufacturing which is making the issue of finding, developing, and retaining experienced people more challenging than in the past. In “Brownfield” (developed) areas, like North America and Europe, it has been estimated that some 30% of the core knowledge staff within the process industries will retire within five years; taking a large amount of engineering and operating experience with them.1 Additionally, a major petrochemical company expects 50% of its engineering workforce to retire in the next five years.2

Couple the shortage of experienced and knowledgeable workers with the way plants are being designed and run today and we have the potential for an increased number of accidents rather than a decrease.

Many companies are now searching for the BEST functional safety program.  Keep in mind that as the need grows, many competitors will fill the void.  Some will be in the best interest of the field and others will be in the best interest of themselves.  Here are a few KEY topics to keep in mind when selecting a functional safety certification program: 

  • Certification vs. Certificate
  • Having a universal certified title: Some titles actually infringe on or are in violation of certain country laws; for example in Continental Europe, Latin America, South America, and Turkey, the title “engineer” is limited by law to people with an engineering degree, and the use of the title by others, even those with equivalent work experience, is illegal
  • What certification level is right for the candidate
  • Is the examination fair in all regions of the world
  • Who creates the examination

NOTE: For the entire paper please see the Personnel Functional Safety Certification Programs Whitepaper at


1.  “Have You Seen This Engineer?”, Control,

2.  “Retirement: Lose Know-How, No Way”, Chemical Processing,


Tagged as:     ted stewart     personnel functional safety certification programs     functional safety     cfse  

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