IEC 62368-1: What you need to know about the new Safety standard

IEC 62368-1: What you need to know about the new Safety standard

4 December 2019

With the advance of new technologies, and with them, new markets, there is a need for a single harmonised standard that provides a more precise framework within which to evaluate the safety of new equipment, as goods are now entering the market packed with various technologies.

Regarding product safety, thanks to the blurring of the distinction between “normal” AV systems and IT hardware, a new “hazard-based” classification was decided to cover all AV / ICT devices/equipment: IEC 62368 -1. This new safety standard IEC 62368-1 has been under the work since 2002, with the ultimate aim of focusing one safety standard for all electronics devices.

What is Product Safety?

Product safety extends beyond the physical surface because computer quality mishaps lead to serious safety hazards. Essentially, this means that two forms of protection now exist: basic safety and something we call functional safety.

Basic safety is what we describe as protection from unwanted physical dangers created by the physical construction or design of an item. Functional safety, however, is the detection of a potentially dangerous condition resulting in the activation of a protective or corrective device or mechanism to prevent hazardous events arising or providing mitigation to reduce the consequence of the hazardous event. Functional safety is the part of the overall safety that depends on a system or equipment operating correctly in response to its inputs.

For more information, check out the International Electrotechnical Commission page about Functional Safety by clicking here.

IEC 62368 is an entirely new definition for product safety: it is not a consolidation of existing standards, but it includes earlier IEC 60065 and IEC 60950 standards. IEC 62368 embraces software integration and the new state-of-the-art technology. Through identifying threats and evaluating the efficacy of the precautions rather than a reactive incident-based view, it takes a pragmatic risk-based approach and is based on performance testing.

This rigorous standard is designed to be future-proof as it is based on the concepts of hazard-based security design, which is a new way to develop and define safety considerations than the current practice. The ultimate goal is to design and produce safe products. The new standard has to be robust, accessible and user-friendly because it is to be so commonly used. The new standard is focused on risk and quality and puts greater emphasis on the safety evaluation of material during the design phase. Among existing forms of standards, there are three significant changes.

IEC 62368 and EN 62368-1

The modified European version of IEC 62368, EN 62368-1 has been around since 2014. December 20, 2020, is the date of formal withdrawal of IEC / UL / CSA 60950-1 and IEC / UL / CSA 60065. To ensure compliance, manufacturers who plan to market products will have to comply with IEC / UL 62368.

It means that EN 62368 is mandatory under the LVD and RED criteria. The safety standard IEC 62368 makes the company future proof by taking into account the potential risks from the product.

The standard’s range lacks practical safety aspects, so if functional protection is added in contrast to other requirements.

Basic and functional safety with the integration of various technologies, such as smoke alarm technology, today’s devices are not only dependent on their physical components to operate, but also on their apps.

62368 shall apply to all devices already subject to safety standards 60950 and 60065, and additional products shall be included in its range.

At the moment it includes:

● Computing and networking products

● Consumer electronics

● Displays and display units 

● Telecommunication products

● Office appliances

● Other types of audio/video, information and communication 

Grant4com is always happy to provide more information about Product Safety or our different test and certification services

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