Technical Articles

What is 61508 lifecycle?

The 61508 lifecycle refers to the series of activities and phases involved in the development, deployment, operation, and maintenance of systems that comply with the IEC 61508 standard. This international standard is primary focused on functional safety of electrical, electronic, and programmable electronic safety-related systems. The 61508 lifecycle helps ensure that these systems are designed, implemented, and operated in a way that minimizes the risk of hazards and accidents.

Understanding the Phases

The 61508 lifecycle consists of several distinct phases, each with its own set of activities and objectives. These phases include:

Concept Phase: In this phase, the system requirements and objectives are defined. The feasibility and overall safety concept are also established.

System Requirements Phase: Here, the specific functionality and performance requirements of the system are outlined. Safety measures and constraints are identified, and a preliminary hazard analysis is conducted.

Realization Phase: This phase involves the design, implementation, and integration of the safety-related system. Verification activities, such as testing and inspections, are carried out to ensure compliance with safety requirements.

Operation Phase: Once the system is deployed, it enters the operation phase. Regular maintenance, monitoring, and safety assessment are performed to ensure the ongoing safety and reliability of the system.

Benefits of 61508 Lifecycle

The 61508 lifecycle provides several benefits in terms of ensuring functional safety:

Clear guidelines: The lifecycle framework offers clear guidelines and best practices for developing and operating safety-related systems, reducing ambiguity and facilitating appropriate decision-making.

Risk reduction: The systematic approach of the lifecycle helps identify and mitigate potential risks early on, minimizing the probability of accidents or hazards caused by system failures.

Compliance with regulations: Adhering to the 61508 lifecycle helps organizations comply with regulatory requirements related to functional safety.

Continuous improvement: The ongoing monitoring and assessment in the operation phase allow for continuous improvement and adaptation to changes in the system's environment and user needs.


The 61508 lifecycle is a comprehensive framework that ensures the development, deployment, operation, and maintenance of safe and reliable electrical, electronic, and programmable electronic safety-related systems. By following this lifecycle, organizations can reduce risks, comply with standards, and continuously improve the performance and safety of their systems.



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