Dependability, the ‘ability to perform as and when required’, applies to any physical item like a system, product, process, or service. It is now central to our lives as it is difficult to imagine a world where things do not work as expected. IEC technical committee (TC) 56, Dependability, has recently published two standards that will contribute to enhanced dependability.
Using past failures and incidents to manage future risks
Analysing the causes of failures or incidents affecting systems, products, or processes is the goal of root cause analysis (RCA). Using RCA may help prevent future design, production, and operation errors (or on the contrary strengthen positive features), and as such play an important role in risk assessment and management.
IEC 62740:2015 Root cause analysis (RCA) describes the basic principles of RCA and specifies the steps that a process for RCA should include. This standard identifies several attributes for RCA techniques that assist with the selection of an appropriate technique. It describes each technique and its relative strengths and weaknesses.
RCA can be used for investigating the causes of non-conformances in quality (and other) management systems as well as for failure analysis, for example in maintenance or equipment testing.
IEC 62741:2015 Demonstration of dependability requirements – The dependability case gives guidance on the content and application of a dependability case. A dependability case is an evidence-based, reasoned, traceable argument created to support the contention that a defined system does and/or will satisfy the dependability requirements.
The standard establishes general principles for the preparation of a dependability case and offers background outlining the principles and purpose of a dependability case. It notes that it provides a reasoned and traceable argument based on evidence that a system satisfies the requirements and will continue to do so over time. It demonstrates why certain activities have been undertaken and how they can be judged to be successful.
IEC 62741 lists principles of the dependability case, such as description, making claims and using evidence in the dependability case. It also gives the evidence framework and details of the procedure to prepare a dependability case report.
Both standards will join the 55 previously developed by TC 56 to make a significant contribution to improved dependability of systems, products, processes, and services.
Summarised from IEC’s e-tech.