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How many parts is the IEC 61508 standard divided into?

The IEC 61508 standard, titled "Functional Safety of Electrical/Electronic/Programmable Electronic Safety-related Systems" is a comprehensive international standard that addresses the development of safety-related systems. It provides guidelines for the management of functional safety throughout the entire lifecycle of a system.

Part 1: General Requirements

The first part of the IEC 61508 standard focuses on general requirements for achieving functional safety in systems. It defines terms and concepts related to functional safety and outlines the overall framework for the standard. This part serves as an introduction to the subsequent parts that delve deeper into specific aspects of functional safety engineering.

Part 2: Requirements for Electrical/Electronic/Programmable Electronic Safety-related Systems

Part 2 of the standard is dedicated to specifying the requirements for electrical/electronic/programmable electronic safety-related systems (E/E/PES). It provides guidance on the design, development, and operation of these systems in order to achieve the required level of functional safety. It covers topics such as system architecture, hardware design, software development, and verification/validation processes.

Part 3: Software Requirements

The third part of the IEC 61508 standard emphasizes the specific requirements for software used in safety-related systems. It delves into the challenges and considerations of developing and implementing reliable software that meets the necessary functional safety goals. Part 3 provides guidelines on software development, validation, and testing, enabling the creation of robust and dependable software components within safety-related systems.


The IEC 61508 standard is divided into multiple parts, each addressing different aspects of functional safety engineering. Part 1 sets the foundation by establishing general requirements, while Parts 2 and 3 focus on specific aspects such as hardware and software development. Adhering to these standards ensures that safety-related systems are designed, operated, and maintained with utmost consideration for functional safety, ultimately protecting human lives, property, and the environment.



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