Functional safety – A very important cross-sectional topic
Systematic and random errors in hardware and software can lead to dangerous situations, e.g. electric shocks, fires or explosions. To comply with the relevant EU guidelines (Machine Directive, Low-Voltage Directive etc.), technical documentation must contain a suitable risk assessment that defines the risk of the malfunctions outlined above in relation to the degree of damage and probability of occurrence. The whole life cycle of a product, sub-system or component must be considered, forming the foundations for the development of functionally safe products in compliance with standards for functional safety. Depending on the established risk potential, the standards for functional safety define certain risk-minimizing measures that must be applied and verified during product development.
Testing and evaluation of the risk assessment as well as resulting measures should be performed by a recognized and independent institution, like the VDE Institute, especially when there is a high potential for risk.