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IEC 61508 functional safety and personnel competence services from Sira

15 March 2010

What is IEC 61508 Functional Safety? Functional Safety is about a system or equipment performing specific functions to a defined level of reliability in order to control risks associated with hazardous processes or machinery.

IEC 61508 Functional Safety and Personnel Competence Services from Sira
IEC 61508 Functional Safety and Personnel Competence Services from Sira

The industry has seen a rise in 61508-certified products as more and more manufacturers, specifiers and end-users realise the value of 61508 certification.

In many cases, demonstrating functional safety provides manufacturers with a competitive edge and enhanced credibility in a global market.  A certified SIL-rating for a product often makes it the product of choice for system integrators and end-users.

Sira provides a full range of accredited IEC 61508 certification services, and also provides technical advice and training courses on the subject. More information can be found here

Personnel Competence
Sira is also heavily involved in Personnel Competence, delivering the UKAS -accredited "Competence Professional Scheme" ( as well as currently being audited for acceptance into the IECEx Certification of Personnel Competencies Scheme.

IECEx Certification of Personnel Competencies Scheme.

The objective of the IECEx Certification of Personnel Competencies Scheme is to provide a globally recognised mark of competence for personnel working in 'hazardous areas' around the world.
Elements of the IECEx Scheme
Using up to 10 competence units, candidates can demonstrate competence specific to their job function. The need for examination of a candidate's knowledge and experience in the field, plus any relevant training and qualifications will be taken into account in order for the candidate to be declared competent under the scheme. 
Status of the Scheme
 The Scheme is currently under final development by the IECEx Management Committee. It will use accredited organisations to provide certificates of competence and training for candidates undergoing assessment.
Sira - IECEx Certification Body
Sira is currently being audited for acceptance as an IECEx Accredited Competence Approval Body. Sira will also offer training to fulfill any knowledge requirements. 
How to Undergo Competence Assessment
Sira currently delivers the Competence Professional Scheme (, a UKAS accredited and nationally-recognised qualification of competence for individuals working in potentially explosive atmospheres. The scheme follows the international standard of competence,  IEC 17024, and provides a framework for competence to be assessed against a candidate's  'knowledge' and 'experience.'
As there are many similarities between the Sira scheme and IECEx scheme, Sira will use the model for Competence Professional to fulfill the requirements of IECEx competence, enabling us to provide certification to the IECEx Certification of Personnel Competencies Scheme. Sira is currently working on a transition document to this effect.
Candidates can therefore sit the examinations for Competence Professional (conducted throughout the year at several training venues), which can then be used as a transition to IECEx Competence. The end result will be an IECEx Competence Certificate, and a globally-recognised mark of competence, setting your personnel (and therefore your company) out from the competition.
More Information
For more information about the scheme, how to apply and what you need to undertake, please contact: 


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