Incident Reporting and Analysis for
Electrical, Electronic and Programmable
Electronic Systems (E/E/PES) under IEC61508

Executive Summary:
This page provides information about an HSE sponsored project to provide guidelines for reporting adverse events involving safety-critical programmable devices. The aim is that the reporting system should integrate with the requirements of the IEC 61508 standard.

As technology develops, the factors influencing accident situations in industry also change. One area of substantial technological development has been the way in which the massive increase in computational power has allowed sweeping changes in the control of safety-related systems applied to plant and equipment. The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) needs to stay abreast of these changes and of their influence on accident situations in order to provide industry with best advice on how to achieve safe working environments. As part of this process, HSE has initiated a programme of work that will eventually provide: guidance for those responsible on how to learn from their own incident data; a means for HSE to ensure that it has the best information attainable on incidents involving electrical/electronic/programmable electronic (E/E/PE) safety-related systems.

The Electrical and Control Systems Unit within HSE's Technology Division strongly contributed to the international standard IEC 61508 "Functional safety of electrical/ electronic/programmable electronic safety-related systems". This sets out specific requirements for systems involving computer control, within a high level framework that defines the safety lifecycle and safety management activities that should be followed. One of these requirements is the need to learn from experience. Subclause 6.2.1 of IEC 61508-1 states that responsible organisations or individuals should consider specifying, implementing and monitoring the progress of:

The above requirement presents a goal to be achieved and, as is often the case with goal based objectives, does not say how this should be done. The implementation details will depend on the organisation that is trying to learn, its maturity in terms of data collection and analysis, and the criticality of the systems that it is responsible for. This project is helping companies to satisfy these requirements.


There are official HSE publications available from the following sources:

There is also a range of case studies and guidance documents that was produced during the project:

Peter Bishop (Adelard), Bill Black (Independent Consultant), Mark Bowell (HSE), George Clelland (Adelard), Luke Emmet (Adelard), Sofia Guerra (Adelard), Chris Johnson (Univ. of Glasgow), Ray Ward (HSE).

Prof. Chris Johnson, DPhil, MSc, MA, CEng, FBCS, Dept. of Computing Science, Univ. of Glasgow, Glasgow, G12 8QQ, Scotland.
Tel: +44 141 330 6053, Fax: +44 141 330 4913,