When should I conduct a Functional Safety assessment?

Overview of obtaining functional safety certification

Overview of obtaining functional safety certification

Stakeholders demand safety

Getting a product certified for functional safety is a process that should ideally involve your developers, your assembly teams, and your functional safety certifying organization. 

It is best practice to have your developers and the functional safety organization work together at the early design stage and have in-depth discussions about your safety concept – what you hope to achieve in terms of safety rating and function and how you plan on achieving that.  These discussions will dig deep into the system architecture or the component architecture, and what your boundaries are in some cases. The assessment process should then follow through the product development lifecycle.

From these questions you can begin to develop your architecture (your high-level block diagram) and then start implementing it; what components are am going to use, how are you going to verify that those components have the reliability that you believe they have.

Whilst discussing your development plan with the certification provider they will be able to provide feedback and validation of concept – such as a safety system may require two channels rather than a single channel depending on the SIL you are designing for. The plan should also include agreed milestones to verify and validate your product for functional safety as you are developing/building it.

After the plans are in place, it’s a matter of verifying you did what you said you were planning on doing. Ensuring that all the generated reports meet the requirements. And then get certified.

The most important aspect of how to get your product functional safety certified is to start discussion with the certifier at the development stage. If you don’t you may find out too late that your product does not meet functional safety criteria and you have to go back to the drawing board. 

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