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Everyone in the dangerous and volatile manufacturing automation industry knows the importance of safety as one small mistake can domino into a cascade of failures that could lead to a major incident.

In one snapshot of its importance, ABB’s global network of Safety Execution Centers (SEC) has shown continual growth over the past four years, expanding from ten to thirty centers within every region and they support the high hazard industrial sectors.

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The goal of these centers is to provide ABB users with in-country functional safety resources for safety instrumented system (SIS) project execution, design, engineering, modification and maintenance. The centers also provide access to local safety standard experts and technology experts. Globally, ABB has more than 700 TÜV, CFSE-certified and ABB technology-certified safety engineers.

There is individual accreditation (either TÜV Rheinland or TÜV SÜD) for each country for Functional Safety Management System (FSMS) delivery, implementation, operations and maintenance. These TÜV groups allow for assessment and certification of organizations, their products and safety standards, as well as running individual competency certifications. ABB uses these third party accreditation models to ensure:
• Integrity
• Objectivity, competence, impartiality
• Reduction in both business and technical risk
• Transparency and consistency
• Proven in-country competence which is local and robust
• Mutual international recognition of certificates
• Annual surveillance
• Due diligence
• Regulatory/licensing body recognition

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TÜV-certified Safety Execution Centers provide local assurance in contrast to a centralized pool of resources and procedures. Local presence ensures:
• Conformity to the local relevant legislation and standards can end up specifically addressed in the FSMS as opposed to the difficulties of trying to adopt one company centralized FSMS i.e. for robust functional safety management systems, one size does not fit all
• Local cultural, regulatory and “good engineering practice” aspects can end up addressed in the FSMS and can easily accommodate its many revisions over time
• It is possible to address different FSMS status, progress, activities and lifecycle phases
• Less audit and evaluation effort required by the end-user based on the local FSMS characteristics
• A strong core presence of competent and resident FS resources exists so the user can demonstrate that competency is readily available
• Clients have a higher degree of confidence and increased functional safety assurance in the local certification processes in contrast to one overriding global certificate

“ABB is committed to providing our customers with the resources, technology and tools they need to help them operate their plants more safely, as well as protect their employees, the environment and the surrounding community,”

“The need for local reliable engineering resources and quality safety automation solutions has grown exponentially over the past few years,” said Stuart Nunns, managing consultant at ABB’s globally focused Safety Lead Competency Centre in the United Kingdom.

“Our safety philosophy requires an in-depth judgment of each single location in order to confirm correct understanding and application of expected safety requirements,” said Heinz Gall of the Certification Body of TÜV Rheinland for FSMS Certification. “As such the motivation for accountability and compliance on safety requirements would be high using the local management/design teams as opposed to reliance on central management organization(s). In addition, single certification or multisite-certification concept could involve sampling and our experience shows this is not adequate for Safety. As part of our quality, the audits are based on a wide range of necessary topics for all phases within Design & Engineering to ensure our clients are effectively applying the said FSM procedures.”

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