International Standards and Conformity Assessment for all electrical, electronic and related technologies
Functional Safety and the IEC

IEC 61508

Functional Safety


Edition 2.0

C) Regional issues / Technical interpretation


C1) How can I find information on IEC 61508 specific to my country?

You should contact your national committee for further information.

C2) Is IEC 61508 also a European Standard?

It is intended to publish the seven parts of IEC 61508 Edition 2.0 as EN 61508.

C3) Is application of IEC 61508 compulsory under any EC Directive?

No. EN 61508 does not have the status of a harmonized European standard, and is not referred to by any EC Directive.


Although EN 61508 is a European Standard, it does not have the status of a harmonized European standard in relation to any EC product directive and it is not therefore listed in the EC Official Journal. However, this does not prevent compliance with relevant parts of EN 61508 being used to support a declaration of conformity with an EC product directive, if that is appropriate. But because EN 61508 is not a harmonized European standard, compliance with it does not provide a presumption of conformity with any directive. It would therefore be necessary to explain in the product's technical file how compliance with EN 61508 is being used to support compliance with specific essential requirements of the particular directive.


There are also no plans to harmonize IEC 61511 or IEC 61513 under any EC Directive. However:


  • IEC 62061, which has been adopted in Europe as EN 62061, was a harmonized European standard under the 98/37/EC Machinery Directive (an EC product directive) and will become a harmonized European standard under the 2006/42/EC Machinery Directive. This is possible because the scope of IEC 62061 is restricted to product requirements rather than the whole safety lifecycle requirements of IEC 61508, which go beyond what is appropriate for a product directive. Although harmonization of EN 62061 means that compliance with it will grant a presumption of conformity with the relevant essential requirements of the Machinery Directive, it will not preclude the use of other ways of meeting those requirements (e.g. by the application of other standards).
  • IEC 61800-5-2 (EN 61800-5-2) is a harmonized European standard under the 2006/42/EC Machinery Directive.


Note: For the latest position regarding European standards in relation to Directive 2006/42/EC on machinery, see the Publications in the Official Journal

C4) How can I request a technical interpretation for a particular subclause of the standard?

It is the responsibility of your national committee to answer questions put to them about the standard. They will forward your question to the relevant international committee where appropriate. You are also welcome to submit a new question to be added to these FAQ pages using our feedback facility.

C5) How can I contact my national committee?

The IEC web site contains a list of the National Committees that are participating in or observing the development of IEC 61508. You should contact the secretary of the committee in the first instance.


If your country is not on the above list, try contacting the secretary of your National Committee.