What is IEC 61508?
IEC 61508 is considered a basic or "umbrella" standard for functional safety. IEC 61508 can be applied for any kind of safety-related electrical/electronic product. Industry sectors are supposed to provide their own specific standards and guidelines as needed (for example ISO 26262 in automotive). IEC 61508 encompasses the entire safety lifecycle of safety-critical systems. It contains 4 Normative parts (1-4) plus 3 informative or "guideline" parts (5-7). Certification for IEC 61508 is optional - the standard does not require this specifically.
The IEC 61508 standard introduces the concept of Safety Integrity Level (SIL). SIL can take one of the four levels (SIL1-SIL4) corresponding to the range of a given safety function’s target likelihood of dangerous failures. Each safety function in a safety-related system needs to have appropriate safety integrity level assigned. An E/E/PE safety-related system will usually implement more than one safety function. If the safety integrity requirements for these safety functions differ, unless there is sufficient independence of implementation between them, the requirements applicable to the highest relevant safety integrity level apply to the entire E/E/PE safety-related system.
Enforcing IEC 61508 Compliance with Source Code Analysis, Unit Testing, Traceability, and More
Parasoft users can leverage Parasoft C/C++test to reduce the cost of achieving IEC 61508 compliance by automating multiple testing methods required by the standard to save time and effort. Parasoft C/C++test helps industrial automation software development teams satisfy the software development and verification process requirements defined by the IEC 61508 standard. When results of the broad range of testing and code analysis types automated through Parasoft C/C++test are processed, intelligent analytics are reported that significantly reduces the work required to for software verification.