Functional Safety Management

July 27, 2020

Recently a client contacted Bluefield for assistance with functional safety management. The brief included the organisational challenges to manage functional safety cost. The customer was concerned about the value of the current functional safety management practice and the high cost that made this less sustainable. Bluefield deployed a TUV-certified functional safety engineer to investigate the case.

Problem Identification:

The investigation identified that all functional safety related work is project-based. This means that the functional safety requirement, planning, and realisation work is all done by a small project team as part of larger capital projects. This causes the following problems:

  1. All functional safety work is outsourced to a suitable supplier (costly)
  2. A project specific functional safety management plan is developed (costly)
  3. Safety requirement is identified by the supplier in collaboration with the project team. The supplier is identifying what is needed and supplying the solution. (costly)
  4. The solution is developed and implemented by the selected vendor
  5. Little knowledge of functional safety in the project teams thus heavily reliant on the vendor guidance
  6. This process is repeated for every project, independent of the previous project, causing repetitive work and cost in developing management plans, risk assessments and safety requirement identification, not to mention the inconstancy of the results.

Solution Development:

Bluefield developed and proposed a set of solutions to the customer to optimise the process. The solution included a staged approach of developing organisational guidance for functional safety management.

Phase 1: Functional safety management plan

  1. Define the organisational objectives for functional safety
  2. Define the standards to apply consistently across all functional safety activities
  3. Define the functional safety lifecycle and key activities and toll gates for each lifecycle
  4. Define the tools and templates to be used for each specific life cycle activities
  5. Define the roles and responsibility for the personnel involved with each phase
  6. Define the competency requirements for functional safety personnel
  7. Define the software requirement for software to be used in any safety critical device

A set of tools and templates was developed to accompany the functional safety management plan

Phase 2: Implementation of functional safety management

This phase of the project included the introduction of the management plan, tool sand templates to the business users.

Steps:

  1. The appointment of key accountable personnel e.g. the Functional Safety Manager and The Safety Authority – they are accountable for maintaining and upholding the Functional Safety Management Plan and underpinning procedures and processes
  2. Launch a guided pilot program whereby the tools and templates are to be used to familiarise the users with the system
  3. Document the complete process to be used as a case study for future training and familiarisation

Overall Benefits:

  1. Organisational functional safety management versus project level project management with a consistent and repeatable approach
  2. The requirement for project based functional safety management documentation development minimised due to the use of the organisation tool kit
  3. Better compliant process with organisation leadership responsible for delivering functional safety and no longer just a project responsibility
  4. Cost saving in both reductions of reparative work but also bringing costly functional safety activities in-house by applying the organisational functional safety management system
  5. Overall a greater customer awareness and familiarity of functional safety at all levels of the business