Functional Safety Management (FSM) is important for a few key reasons. First, it governs the entire machine safety lifecycle. Regardless of which standards we pick, we need to have the management plan in place to make sure we follow those steps and that we do them consistently.
Allocating lifecycle responsibilities is another important one. We can think about this both within an organization who's responsible for the risk assessment versus the design of the safety function. We can also think about allocating lifecycle responsibilities between groups. What activities is the manufacturer doing to guarantee safety? Having a step by step approach can more easily transfer that information. From the manufacturer side, they can provide the risk assessment that was done, the list of assumptions, and list of requirements for maintenance. When the end user looks at that, they‘ll know exactly where it fits with their lifecycle.
Lastly, for those people who are doing lifecycle tasks, we have to make sure they're competent. Ask them to do a safety function design if they are not familiar with any of the components. If they're not familiar with the modeling and the standard, they're not going to be successful. They may give us a piece of paper, but it doesn't really get us any further because it wasn't done correctly. They don't have the knowledge or the expertise to do that. Ultimately, all of these pieces matter because a technology only solution or something that is just focusing on the equipment is not going to be enough to achieve our risk management targets.
In conclusion, Functional Safety Management (FSM) is important because it…
- Governs the entire Machine Safety Lifecycle
- Allocates lifecycle responsibilities
- Specifies the activities of those with responsibilities (develop procedures)
- Documents competency requirements for those involved with the lifecycle
If you would like to learn about the machine safety lifecycle and much more check out our SELF-PACED: FSE 110 - Machine Functional Safety Engineering course.