IEC 61508


Achieve compliance with certified Software Testing and Static Analysis

IEC 61508


Achieve compliance with certified Software Testing and Static Analysis

IEC 61508

IEC 61508 (Functional Safety of Electrical / Electronic / Programmable Electronic Safety-related systems) is a generic functional safety standard which may be applicable to all cases where programmable devices are used to control the functioning of systems where safety is or may be a consideration.

A system to which IEC 61508 is applicable may have varying levels of risk to the user or different safety requirements. To accommodate this IEC 61508 has four Safety Integrity Levels (SIL 1 – 4), with SIL 4 representing projects with the most rigorous safety requirements.

Fitness for purpose litigation against companies and individuals is now an increasing risk. IEC 61508 is a technical standard used by lawyers to interpret laws. The relevant law in question for Europe is the General Product Safety Directive 2001/95/EC (GPSD). This states that the product creator has the responsibility to develop a safety critical product in a way which is compliant with ‘State-of-the-Art’ development principles. ‘State-of-the-Art’ simply refers to commonly accepted best practices, which in the case of electronic saftey related systems are now embodied in IEC 61508:2010 (or the previously mentioned standards derived from it which focus on specific industries). Where companies fail to employ accepted industry practices, they cannot use the “State-of-the-Art” legal defence against such litigation.

Testing tools for compliance with IEC 61508 recommendations

QA Systems enables organisations to accelerate IEC 61508 compliance with automated static analysis and software testing tools:

Tool Certification & Qualification

IEC 61508, Part 3 Annex A recommends that software tools are certified. QA Systems’ dynamic testing tool Cantata has been classified and certified by SGS-TÜV GmbH, an independent third party certification body for functional safety, accredited by Deutsche Akkreditierungsstelle GmbH (DAkkS). Cantata has been classified as a Tool Confidence Level (TCL) 1 tool, and is usable in development of safety related software according to IEC 61508:2010 up to the Safety Integrity Level (SW-SIL) 4.

Cantata has been certified as a class T2 tool fulfilling the requirements of IEC 61508-3 sub-clause 7.4.4. Providing use of the tool follows the relevant version Safety Manual, Installation Manual, User Manual and this Standard Briefing then it has been certified as usable in development of safety related software according to IEC 61508 up to the highest Safety Integrity Level (SW-SIL 4).

For our static analysis tool QA-MISRA, our tool Qualification Support Kit (QSK) automatically executes a full tool qualification verification test suite on the installed tool configuration and generates the necessary reports for IEC 61508 tool qualification.

These tool kits for IEC 61508 are available to ease our customers’ path to certification. They contain everything needed to prove that Cantata and QA-MISRA provide the required confidence in the use of software tools under IEC 61508 recommendations as well as comprehensive and detailed guidance on how to use them to comply with the required software verification activities of IEC 61508.

Please contact us for more information about these tool kits.

Cantata Certificate

Software testing for IEC 61508 compliance

IEC 61508 Section 3, Table A.5 recommends software module testing and integration. The Cantata testing tool enables developers to automate their unit and integration testing and to verify IEC 61508 compliant code on host native and embedded target platforms.

Cantata helps accelerate compliance with the standard’s software testing requirements by automating:

  • Test framework generation
  • Test case generation
  • Test execution
  • Results diagnostics and report generation

Please contact us for more information on Cantata for IEC 61508.

The IEC 61508 software testing recommendations by SIL and how these are supported by Cantata are summarised in our White Paper “Cantata Standard Briefing IEC 61508:2010”.

Start a free trial to evaluate Cantata using your code.

Static analysis for IEC 61508 compliance

Part 3 of IEC 61508 addresses the software requirements of a safety-related system mandating the use of better development processes, including the use of coding standards such as MISRA to encourage further gains in software quality. It includes several tables that define the methods that must be considered in order to achieve compliance with the standard.

The IEC 61508 static analysis recommendations by SIL and how these are supported by QA-MISRA and Astrée are summarised in our “QA-MISRA Safety Manual”.

Start a free trial of QA-MISRA to evaluate your code against MISRA, AUTOSAR, CERT C/C++, CWE and other coding standards to ensure automated compliance with IEC 61508.