FSM or Functional Safety Management as basis for FS projects

Achieving functional safety and SIL compliant projects is not easy – unless your company implements proper Functional Safety Management. The objectives of Functional Safety Management are simple in nature. First of all identify all technical and managerial activities (work items) related to the safety system over the full lifecycle of the safety system. Second of all, once all activities are identified make one or more people (departments, organisations) responsible for these activities. Without good Functional Safety Management achieving SIL becomes a lucky shot. You might achieve your SIL target, you might not. With good Functional Safety Management your SIL target is always within reach.

Functional safety management can be implemented on a per project basis or as part of the normal operating procedures of a company. Either way for each project a safety plan usually documents how FSM is carried out on that project.

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Typical Functional Safety Management tasks

 Functional Safety Management

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Functional Safety Management makes sure that:

  • The work is carried out
  • The work is independently verified
  • The work is sufficiently independently assessed
  • The work, the verification and assessment is documented

And all of this needs to be carried out by competent professionals.

FSM applies to everybody

Functional safety management applies to all stakeholders of SIL. In practice this means that end users, engineering companies, system integrators, product suppliers and any body else involved in SIL and functional safety need to apply functional safety management. If any of these parties has overall responsibility for one or more phases of the lifecycle of the involved safety system then this party must do Management of Functional Safety.

This also means that FSM needs to be applied on different levels. Products suppliers need to apply FSM while developing products. They use IEC 61508 as a basis for Functional Safety Management. System integrators apply application specific standards for FSM, like IEC 61511 or IEC 62061, to integrate the safety system correctly. End users, or their engineering partners,  need to apply FSM during hazard and risk analysis, and the operational phase.

Functional Safety Management

Functional Safety Management ensures that the right people are doing the right work, at the right time, with the right tools, while following the right procedures and guidelines.
Functional Safety Management is driven by a lifecycle model and carried out by one or more Functional Safety Managers.


The Role of the Functional Safety Manager

Just like every project has a project manager, every functional safety project should have a Functional Safety Manager. The Functional Safety Manager should be independent from the project manager and have sufficient authority. Any issues related to functional safety should overrule issues related to project management. For example, if the safety system needs to be tested in the field but the deadline for the project is near, then the project manager might decide not to do the test. The Functional Safety Manager should have the authority to overrule the project manager and ensure that the testing is completed.


Functional Safety Management FAQ

Which standards require FSM?

All standards related to functional safety require Functional Safety Management. Typical standards include IEC 61508, IEC 61511, IEC 62061, ISO 26262, and so.

How does Functional Safety Management differ from Project Management?

There is not so much difference, other then in focus. In normal PM the focus is on budgets (money), time and quality assurance. FSM focuses on functional safety. In theory FSM does not care how long it takes and how much it costs.

Can FSM be certified?

Yes, any organisation can be certified for FSM. This means we certify that your organisation has procedures in place that make sure you can carry out projects according to the applicable functional safety standards. For example IEC 61508. See our certification pages

Do you have a safety plan template?

Yes, we have safety plans for product developers, system integrators, engineering partners and end users.