TÜV SÜD Product Service has launched its hazard-based safety engineering service to help electronics manufacturers cope with the requirements of the new IEC 62368-1 standard for audio visual and information technology products.

IEC 62368-1 is the first standard to introduce a hazard-based approach, rather than the more prescriptive method traditionally used for product safety. This new approach relies on expertise to identify potential hazards, followed by the application of tests, set out in the standard, to prove the effectiveness of safeguards designed to protect against those hazards.

Richard Poate, senior manager at TÜV SÜD Product Service, said: “IEC 62368-1 introduces a completely new methodology, turning on its head the well-established and prescriptive approach of product safety compliance. A different mind-set is now required when applying the standard, and TÜV SÜD’s new service will support manufacturers to achieve this in order to ensure a consistent approach across their product range.”

IEC 62368-1 covers products that fall under two previously separate ‘prescriptive’ standards, IEC 60065 (audio, video and similar electronic apparatus) and IEC 60950-1 (information technology equipment). While the two old standards closely dictate product designs, the new approach is to define hazard-based requirements, using engineering principles and taking into account relevant IEC equipment standards and pilot documents. To a large extent this makes IEC 62368-1 a technology independent safety standard, which allows for more design freedom.

As the new IEC 62368-1 represents a significant departure from traditional standards, it has initially been introduced alongside the existing standards, but the existing standards will be fully replaced by 2019. It may now be followed by electronics manufacturers in their safety testing process instead of the two older standards, with early adoption giving them the opportunity to take advantage of the increased flexibility offered by the new standard.