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The international functional safety standard IEC 61508 requires all activities related to the safety lifecycle to be documented. Safety documentation is required as objective evidence that the particular safety life cycle phase is complete and represents the value added for the consecutive dependent processes. The documentation itself can be available in different formats, such as paper, film, and/or any digital media that can be presented on screens, in displays or in print.
Developing, handling and managing the huge amount of documents generated during the entire safety-related system life cycle can be difficult, complicated, and sometimes a nightmare. Furthermore the growth of electronic data and the complex legal requirements of document retention require high technology storage management systems to ensure information availability of archived data. The inability to find and produce information can be very high. Inaccessible information can be very expensive in terms of business operation costs. Today’s Content Management Systems seem to be the answer to meeting the documentation requirements of IEC 61508.
This paper will address the use of Content Management Systems to manage the document requirements for functional safety projects. The paper will first explain the documentation requirements in the functional safety industry and what, in technical terms, a document actually is. Next, the paper will introduce the concept of a content management system and explain how it can be used in practice. © 2009 Inside Publishing. All Rights Reserved.