Certified Functional Safety Expertise

by | Nov 27, 2007 | Safety, Services, Consulting & Training

Jim Cahill

Chief Blogger, Editor

Successfully executing a project with safety instrumented systems requires trained and competent project team members. They must be versed in the safety lifecycle as required by international safety standards–primarily IEC 61508 and IEC 61511 (ISA 84.01 in the U.S.) for the process industries.

To address this safety expertise requirement, TÜV and exida along with the support of other global safety experts created the Certified Functional Safety Expert (CFSE) concept. Its mission is:

…to ensure that personnel performing SIS lifecycle activities are competent as required by the IEC 61508, 61511, and 62061 [machinery safety] standards.

Currently there are two levels of certification, CFSE and CFSP (Certified Functional Safety Professional). The difference is mainly in practicing experience–ten years for CFSEs versus two years for CFSPs. The CFSE.ORG website describes the difference:

The CFSE is the higher level certification and is aimed at professionals who actively lead, coordinate and review the more complex and demanding activities in the Safety Lifecycle in leadership positions including SIL selection and SIL verification.

The CFSP is targeted at professionals who need a thorough understanding of the Safety Lifecycle activities at the execution level without necessarily leading, coordinating or reviewing the more complex and demanding activities.

CFSE.ORG reports that there are currently over 200 CFSEs and CFSPs in practice worldwide. The certification process is not easy. Those trying to take the test are warned:

…the certificate exams are extremely rigorous and often demand significant preparation in order to achieve the 80% passing grade for both exams. With this in mind, the Governance Board strongly recommends that all candidates develop an in-depth study plan to properly prepare for the examinations. The topics covered in the different exams and sample Process Applications Exam questions provided in the Specialties and General Information pull-down menus may be helpful in developing an effective study plan.

In view of the comprehensive nature of the exams, the Governance Board recommends that candidates put in at least 40 self study hours as part of their preparation for the CFSE/CFSP exams.

I bring all this up because I received a note from one of my colleagues in Calgary in our Hydrocarbon and Energy industry center. The news is that they have some newly minted CFSEs–David Goerzen and Ajmal Siddiq. Congratulations on your achievement!

I went out to the CFSE.ORG site and did a search on the 15 pages of CFSEs/CFSPs. As of today, November 27, 2007, I counted 38 Emerson CFSEs and 8 CFSPs. This is more than 20% of all the certified safety professionals in the world. The percentage is higher if you exclude the machinery safety professionals.

The organizational roles of these safety professionals run the gamut including projects, support, technology, sales and marketing. These organizations work with process manufacturers at various stages of the safety lifecycle to help meet their risk reduction goals.

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The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the authors. Content published here is not read or approved by Emerson before it is posted and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Emerson.