Health and Safety Executive
Managing competence for safety-related systems
Part 1: Key guidance
© Crown copyright 2007 This guidance is issued by the Health and Safety Executive, the Institution of Engineering Technology and the British Computer Society. Following the guidance is not compulsory and you are free to take other action. But if you do follow the guidance you will normally be doing enough to comply with the law in Great Britain where this is regulated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). HSE inspectors seek to secure 1 compliance with the law and may refer to this guidance as illustrating good practice.
1 This guidance on competence applies to everyone, in all industry sectors, whose decisions and work with safety-related systems can affect health and safety. The aim is for all people within scope to be suitably qualified and experienced for their own work activities, roles and responsibilities. 2 A safety-related system according to this guidance is a system whose correct operation is necessary for ensuring or maintaining safety. It uses electrical, electronic, and/or programmable electronic technologies and may include software and people. In general, safety-related systems can be classified as protection systems or control systems. 3 Example safety-related systems include a trip-switch that disconnects power from a press on close approach to moving parts, traffic lights, vehicle engine management, boiler management, medical devices, fire management in an intelligent building, gas detection on an industrial chemical plant, emergency shutdown on an offshore gas platform, remote operation of a network-enabled process plant, access protection for nuclear reprocessing, fly-by-wire operation of aircraft flight control surfaces and any information system where erroneous results can significantly affect safety. 4 New technologies, particularly programmable electronics, have enabled such systems to function more effectively and...