Why Is Functional Safety An Important Piece of Process Safety Management?

May 17, 2017

[:en][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]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.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][:zh][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]No! They are not Inherently Safe!

A collaborative robot is intended to work “collaboratively” with a person. i.e. share a common workspace. It is force and speed limited by design to minimize any potential hazard. Collaborative robots fit the application where the task cannot be easily or cost effectively automated. They are easy to deploy, program and repurpose. Collaborative robots are new to everyone including the standards agencies.

A hazard and risk assessment is required that assesses the robot and the environment that it is deployed in. Just as any other robot, things such as collisions, speed, type of end effector and worksite need to be evaluated. Collaborative robots have their own sorts of collisions and hazards. They may not be as severe, but they still exist.

This all comes down to risk and the amount of risk that you are willing to accept! The diagram below shows the high-level steps for doing a Hazard and Risk Assessment. When following the steps, if you assess the risk and find it to be acceptable (your companies acceptable risk norms) then you are done. No need to add any risk reduction.

The next best approach is to determine if protective measures other than a Safety Function can reduce the risk to an acceptable level. If not, then you must assign a SIL and implement a safety function that will provide the required risk reduction.

exida can effectively train your team to perform machine hazard and risk assessments to identify all possible hazards and estimate the risk for each hazard. Specifically, exida coaches you through the process of evaluating the risk, developing and implementing risk reduction options. exida can also educate your team in multiple approaches to SIL target selection. These are just some of the things exida does to ensure you are on the right path![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row] [:]

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