IEC 61508 Competence Guidelines

The crucial component in the management of functional safety is the competence of all those with a role to play throughout the safety system lifecycle.

Clause 6 of IEC 61508 Part 1 specifies the requirements for the management of functional safety including reference to the need for those involved in any part of the safety system lifecycle to have the necessary competence. The clause refers to Annex B which sets out the considerations for ensuring that persons who have responsibilities for any safety lifecycle activity are competent to discharge those responsibilities.

The UK’s Health & Safety Executive has published guidance on the management of competence for people responsible for safety systems. Managing competence for safety-related systems was issued by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), the Institution of Engineering & Technology (IET) and the British Computer Society (BCS) in two parts (folow the links to download):

Part 1: Key guidance

Part 2: Supplementary material

To complement the general guidance, the IET in conjunction with HSE and BCS has revised the guidelines on job related competencies for those working on safety-related systems. Competence criteria for Safety-related system practitioners can be purchased from

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