It’s interesting to note that with the release of the 2016 edition of IEC61511, there’s more emphasis being placed on the need for better functional safety management. Having taught many courses on Functional Safety over the past few years, I find that most of the people attending the courses have very little understanding of the importance (and benefits) of Functional Safety Management (FSM).
FSM is designed to ensure that ALL stages of the Safety Lifecycle (SLC) are properly implemented and supported, in terms of – what I like to call – the three Ps: People, Paperwork and Procedures. The people aspect relates to the roles, responsibilities and competency of personnel involved in SLC activities; the paperwork relates to documentation and record keeping and the procedures relate to having well-defined work processes in place for each phase of the SLC: Analysis, Design/Implementation and Operation/Maintenance.
Usually when I meet with a client I ask whether they come under OSHA PSM and if so whether they have a FSM plan in place. Most of the time the answer is “no” but in reality, if there is a well defined quality plan that is ISO compliant, then often-times the “gaps” required to meet a FSM can be bridged relatively inexpensively and quickly. You don’t need to re-invent the wheel here.
FSM, if implemented correctly, can help improve efficiency and help reduce cost. If personnel are properly trained and have well documented processes and procedures then this can help reduce “spurious” trips of the plant and/or maintenance issues. When I teach our FSE100 Course, I always emphasise the importance of having a well-defined process and FSM program in place.
What a lot of people forget is that the IEC61511 standard has been written by end users for end users and not by academics. So FSM is important to end users and relevant.