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How many parts is the IEC 61508 standard divided into


The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 61508 standard is a widely recognized and crucial guideline for functional safety in electrical, electronic, and programmable electronic systems. It provides a systematic framework to manage the safety risks associated with these systems. The IEC 61508 standard is divided into several parts, each addressing different aspects of functional safety.

Part 1: General Requirements

The first part of the IEC 61508 standard focuses on providing an introduction to the entire series. It lays down the foundation and general principles for achieving functional safety. Part 1 also defines the key terms used throughout the standard, ensuring a common understanding among stakeholders. Additionally, it outlines the overall safety lifecycle framework that should be followed when developing safety-related systems.

Part 2: Hardware Requirements

Part 2 of the IEC 61508 standard specifically deals with hardware requirements for functional safety. It addresses the various considerations and measures needed to ensure the reliability and integrity of hardware components within a safety system. This part extensively covers topics such as hardware architecture, diagnostics, fault tolerance, and design constraints. Complying with the guidelines outlined in Part 2 helps mitigate potential hardware failures and their impact on overall system safety.

Part 3: Software Requirements

The third part of the IEC 61508 standard focuses on software requirements for functional safety. Given the increasing complexity of software-driven systems, this part is of paramount importance. It provides guidance on software development processes, verification and validation techniques, and managing software errors and faults. Adhering to the guidelines in Part 3 ensures that software components critical to safety functions are developed, tested, and maintained in a manner that minimizes the risk of potentially hazardous failures.


The IEC 61508 standard plays a crucial role in ensuring functional safety in various industries. This international standard is divided into multiple parts, with each part addressing specific aspects relevant to achieving functional safety. Part 1 sets the foundation and general requirements, while Part 2 focuses on hardware considerations, and Part 3 deals with software requirements. Adhering to these guidelines helps organizations minimize risks associated with electrical, electronic, and programmable electronic systems, ultimately enhancing overall safety and reliability.



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