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What Is Functional Safety?

Functional safety is part of the overall safety that depends on a system or equipment operating correctly in response to its inputs. Functional safety is achieved when every specified safety function is carried out and the level of performance required of each safety function is met.

For example, an overtemperature protection device, using a thermal sensor in the windings of an electric motor to de-energise the motor before they can overheat, is an instance of functional safety. But providing specialised insulation to withstand high temperatures is not an instance of functional safety (although it is still an instance of safety and could protect against exactly the same hazard).

See the document Functional safety and IEC 61508 for further details.

This text contains extracts from the IEC Functional Safety Zone. All such extracts are copyright of International Electrotechnical Commission © 2005, IEC, Geneva, Switzerland. All rights reserved. IEC has no responsibility for the placement and context in which the extracts are reproduced. This notice takes precedence over any general copyright statement.


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Created 2008-11-11
Modified 2016-05-13
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