International Standards and Conformity Assessment for all electrical, electronic and related technologies

IEC General Meeting 2012


Safety above all

Lord Kelvin Award goes to German expert

Friedrich Harless received the Lord Kelvin Award for his long-term contribution to the IEC in the field of electrical safety from the hands of IEC President Dr Klaus Wucherer at the Council Statutory Session during the General Meeting in Oslo, Norway.

Systematic risk assessment process

Friedrich Harless has been involved in the work of IEC TC (Technical Committee) 44: Safety of Machinery – Electrotechnical aspects, for many years, and became its Chairman in 2002. His life-long expertise and experience in the safety field were also key to his nomination as Chairman of the SMB (Standardization Management Board) ACOS (Advisory Committee on Safety) in 2004.


Harless has been instrumental in the implementation of a systematic risk assessment process for electrotechnical products, leading to the publication of IEC Guide 116, Guidelines for safety related risk assessment and risk reduction for low voltage equipment, and revision of ISO/IEC Guide 51, Safety aspects - Guidelines for their inclusion in standards.

Benefits of participation in IEC

Under Harless’s leadership, ACOS captures the collective interests of manufacturers, regulators and equipment users from all over the world. As Chairman of TC 44, he has managed several fundamental changes, including the transformation from hardwired safety function requirements to programmable electronic techniques. He also supported the establishment of a common standard with ISO for functional safety based on safety integrity.


Friedrich Harless’s contributions to the IEC have spanned decades. Throughout this time he has shared his vast technical knowledge and experience in electrical safety to the benefit of the entire IEC community. Over the years, he has also convinced many global industries and regulators of the benefits of using and participating in IEC standardization and conformity assessment activities.

A great honour

Upon receiving the Lord Kelvin Award in the presence of his peers, Friedrich Harless said: “There are more than 10 000 experts in the IEC community. To be the laureate of such a prestigious award is a great honour. Throughout my career, I have tried to generate benefits for the company that has employed me for close to 40 years, as well as for the IEC. My goal has always been to keep both competitive in an increasingly global environment.”

Lord Kelvin Award

The Lord Kelvin Award was created in 1995 and named after the IEC’s distinguished first President, William Thomson, The Rt. Hon. Lord Kelvin, one of the most brilliant minds of the 19th century. Kelvin was an incessant inventor and, through his mathematical genius, significantly contributed to the advancement of modern physics and science as well as the understanding and practical application of electrotechnology. Those who receive the Lord Kelvin Award have the same drive to understand and improve the practical applications of the millions of electrical and electronic devices that are part of our lives.


The Lord Kelvin Award comprises a solid gold medal, a gold lapel pin and a personal certificate signed by the IEC President and the General Secretary.


Friedrich Harless's IEC involvement

  • Chairman IEC TC 44: Safety of machinery - Electrotechnical aspects
  • Chairman ACOS (Advisory Committee on Safety)
  • Observer ACEA (Advisory Committee on Environmental Aspects)

Friedrich Harless used to be an expert in IEC TC 70: Degrees of protection provided by enclosures and in SB (Sector Board) 3: Industrial Automation, which was disbanded in 2010.

Other standardization activities

  • German National Committee: Chairman of national mirror committees to IEC TC 44 and IEC ACOS
  • ISO/IEC JACMS (Joint Advisory Committee on Machinery Safety)
  • CENELEC TC 44: Safety of machinery: electrotechnical aspects
  • EU: Standing Committee “Machinery Directive” and CEN Advisory Nucleus “Machinery”


Over the past 37 years, Friedrich Harless has held managerial positions at Siemens in Erlangen, Germany. He worked in Development and Marketing at the Medical Engineering Group from 1975 to 1986 and since 1987 has been Head of the Corporate Standardization Department “Electrical Engineering and Safety”.



  • Lord Kelvin Award Laureate Friedrich Harless
  • From left, Ronnie Amit, past IEC General Secretary & CEO and his successor Frans Vreeswijk, Friedrich Harless and Klaus Wucherer, IEC President
  • Harless has been instrumental in the implementation of a systematic risk assessment process for electrotechnical products



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