50 Years of Safety: Tried, Tested, and TÜV Certified

As part of a celebratory blog series, the Smart Safety Hub provides unique insights into TÜV’s holistic approach to functional safety assessments. From this, you will discover how HIMA builds on best practices to provide its own customers with a range of valuable services, innovative solutions, and comprehensive functional safety training.

Functional Safety: A Shared Responsibility

If a hazardous event unfolds in a critical process facility and is not dealt with properly, the result can be catastrophic. Risks threaten plant productivity and put people’s lives in danger. What’s more, processes often use hazardous or harmful materials which pose long-lasting environmental risks.

It is required by IEC 61508 and IEC 61511 to carry out functional safety assessments at certain moments in the safety lifecycle – either when a new system has been introduced, or when modifications have been carried out on an existing system. That said, ensuring that this is achieved is not the sole responsibility of safety equipment manufacturers like HIMA – it’s a collaborative effort. Boris Betz, Team Leader in Product Development at HIMA, has been working closely alongside TÜV for several years. He values the close collaboration and the way that the two companies approach functional safety.

“Both sides have a good feeling when it’s time to begin working together on an upcoming certification or recertification. One immense advantage is that HIMA has a core group of fixed contacts at TÜV Rheinland, which makes things much easier. The TÜV experts are always well-versed in the subject matter, and if there is something to be clarified, it is usually resolved directly, quickly, and in a goal-oriented manner.”

The world’s first TÜV-certified safety system, Planar, hit the market 50 years ago.

More than Meets the Eye

All that said, mandatory functional safety assessments carried out by TÜV don’t just satisfy compliance. They also provide time- and cost-saving opportunities for product manufacturers, as the R&D stages are supported by a team of experts who offer best practices and identify potential barriers. For plant operators, implementing rigorously tested and certified safety-instrumented systems (SIS) means they proactively safeguard their most valuable assets in accordance with strict standards, while streamlining and optimizing the safety chain.

Functional safety assessments of both new and existing products should be carried out by an impartial safety expert. They will establish whether every safety-instrumented function within a system is satisfying the appropriate safety integrity level (SIL). To give an idea of how that is done, we share the mandatory five steps that TÜV Rheinland takes to confirm functional safety.

A Methodical Approach

  1. Firstly, an expert will IDENTIFY an appropriate level of risk reduction. This step will involve discussing hazards and the function the product will be applied to.
  2. Next, they will ASSESS which SIL to apply, based on an inspection of the product documentation and the safety function.
  3. In the third stage, TÜV ENSURE that that all safety functions will operate as they should, considering human error and other failures. This also means that the design and lifecycle of the product conform to the relevant process industry standards.
  4. The expert moves on to VERIFY that the applied SIL is being met. Various key parameters of the system will need to be tested. Such aspects as ‘failure rate per hour’, ‘hardware fault tolerance’, and the ‘average frequency of a dangerous failure’, are determined and dangerous states are identified as ‘failure modes effects analysis’.
  5. Functional safety will be confirmed at various stages of the safety lifecycle through audits. These should EXAMINE and ASSESS again the robustness and standards conformity of an SIS.

Eine gemeinsame Sicherheitsvision

Wird eine Steuerung von HIMA oder die Einrichtung eines HIMA Kunden hinsichtlich der oben genannten Kriterien untersucht, ist dabei stets auch ein HIMA Ingenieur anwesend. Als eines von wenigen Unternehmen weltweit ist HIMA zudem vom TÜV für Functional Safety Management zertifiziert. Das bedeutet: HIMA Experten sind dazu berechtigt, für Funktionale Sicherheit individuelle Frameworks für Kunden zu entwickeln, mit denen Betreiber problemlos strikte Vorgaben erfüllen und Arbeitsabläufe optimieren können. Darüber hinaus kann HIMA Factory Acceptance Tests (FAT) und Site Acceptance Tests (SAT) nach den Vorschriften des TÜV und den örtlichen Bestimmungen beim Kunden vor Ort durchführen. Die enge Zusammenarbeit und die umfassende Erfahrung in der Entwicklung von Sicherheitssystemen machen es möglich.

Darüber hinaus führt HIMA TÜV-zertifizierte Schulungen, in denen Teilnehmer ihr Produktwissen auffrischen und sich in Sachen Funktionaler Sicherheit sowie Cybersecurity weiterbilden können. Die Kurse decken den gesamten Sicherheitslebenszyklus ab – von der Planung über den Betrieb bis zur Wartung von Sicherheitseinrichtungen. Die TÜV-Methodik ist zwar bewährt, doch durch den ständigen technologischen Fortschritt, mit dem schon die Normen kaum mithalten können, ergeben sich auch neue Herausforderungen – zum Beispiel durch Cyberattacken oder die aktuelle COVID-19-Situation.

Sie haben den ersten Artikel unserer Jubiläums-Blogserie verpasst? Lesen Sie hier, wie die Zusammenarbeit von TÜV und HIMA weltweite Sicherheitsstandards revolutioniert hat.