CRITICAL SAFETY PROVISO:
Why Functional Safety Product Certifiers Must Meet Highest Level of Accreditation (Click on the title to view the comlete article)
You need your fire and gas system to function at the highest safety levels. What can you do to make sure it is?
A thirdparty evaluation of a manufactured product is preferred over self-certification.
But which third-party should you select?
What matters in certification? How can you have confidence you have selected fully qualified companies to conduct proper and complete product certification?
Helping you answer these questions is this paper’s goal. Common misconceptions include:
Misconception 1: product self-certification follows the same rigor as third-party approval
Misconception 2: all product certifiers are equally qualified
Misconception 3: standards on documentation mean the product has a certain certification
Misconception 4: you achieve SIL 3 by using redundant SIL 2 products with SIL 2 process
The errors often develop from misunderstood terms. Here are a few key definitions.
Standard: an agreed upon description of what satisfies proper function. It uses technical, verifiable language so local and international groups can establish best practice for an industry. IEC 61508 and IEC 60079-29-1 are examples of standards.
Accreditation Agency: A group that identifies (accredits) companies that possess the necessary knowledge and rigor to certify function for solutions. They may also be the organization that endorses the standard. ANSI is an Accreditation Agency.
Product Certifier: This is a group that has been accredited as able to assess and audit products, services and systems for public safety—meeting the standard—and therefore are able to properly provide certification. exida is a SIL Product Certifier.
Certification: establishes that a specific solution (product, service or system) meets the standard. Tested through an assessment, it offers confidence that the solution is safe, functional, and will perform as expected. A functional safety certificate is issued to confirm the assessment was determined compliant. For valid certification, the product certifier must achieve accreditation to the standards used.
Self-Certification Is Risky
Selection of properly certified flame and gas detection products for safety purposes is vital. Certified products installed to the approved safety codes and standards is crucial—a must. There are many considerations to weigh each step of the way. Operational efficiency, maximum productivity and overall safety require comprehensive attention.
Ultimately you need the correct certification, installation and day-to-day operation of a product to achieve the highest safety standard.
This paper focuses on the product certification step.
Great products properly installed and operated will not achieve functional safety unless the product certification is also legitimate. Often misunderstood, product certification is crucial to safety—it establishes proper functional safety at the extremes and special use conditions. Functional safety allows for failure in a predictable (safe) manner. Therefore mistakes during product certification can reveal themselves in catastrophe. Achieving full and reliable functional safety certification requires careful attention.
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