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Global users of Audio Visual (A/V) and Information Technology Equipment (ITE) products number in the billions. The safety of these users, whether lay person or professional, is a growing concern. Since these two markets share many technologies, the IEC (International Electrotechnical Committee) has established a hazard-based standard to combine both IEC 60065 (A/V) and IEC 60950-1 (ITE).   The standard also includes Communication Technology Equipment (CTE).

The principal methodology used in the development of this standard is a new approach called Hazard-Based Safety Engineering.

What is Hazard-Based Safety Engineering?

Hazard-Based Safety Engineering or HSBE is a safety science that's been emerging in the world of safety compliance over the last 15- 20 years. It's a safety discipline that has two main objectives. The first is to identify sources of energy and classify  the level of hazard (injury or damage) that could occur when that energy is transferred to body parts or combustible materials. See Table 1. The second objective is to identify and then qualify effective safeguards that will eliminate the transfer of any hazardous energy to body parts or combustible materials. The hazard-based standard,  IEC 62368-1, specifies the compliance criteria needed to qualify the effectiveness of the safeguards against the transfer of hazardous energy.  Safeguards are formally  defined as "a device or scheme or system that is interposed between an energy source capable of causing pain or injury and a body part and reduces the likelihood of transfer of energy capable of causing pain or injury to a body part"  There is a hierarchy of safeguards  that should be  considered. See Table 2.

1.   Energy Source: Identify/Classify
Energy Source
Effects on Body
Effects on Combustible Materials
Class 1
Not painful, but could be detectable
Ignition not likely
Class 2
Painful, but not causing injury
Ignition likely with limited spread and increase of fire
Class 3
Ignition likely with rapidly spreading and increasing fire

Table 1
1.   Safeguard: Identify/Classify

Equipment safeguard
Does not require any knowledge or actions by persons coming into contact with equipment
Installation safeguard
When a safety   characteristic can only be applied after installation
Behavioral safeguard
When the equipment requires an energy source to be accessible

Table 2

How does a hazard-based standard  differ from previous standards?

In previous standards, designs had to closely prescribe to rules specific for that product. These are called prescriptive standards. Adherence to the rules and protocol of the standard was necessary for product certification. Hazard-based standards use a different philosophy. It's one that offers an additional performance based option to meet compliance criteria. Existing relevant standards, documents and engineering practices can all be used to identify and classify a hazard and then prove through performance that the hazard has been eliminated. The performance of the design speaks for itself and is largely technology independent. A significant benefit is that new constructions and technologies can be used for compliance without having to amend the relevant existing standard. This offers greater design flexibility.

However, a major consideration of the performance based option is that "all possible fault conditions" must be  tested.  Not only it is time consuming but testing for "all possible fault conditions" can lead to a subjective application of the performance based option. Certification body engineers may disagree with testing which will add additional costs and delays in product certification. Performance based compliance options should be given careful scrutiny before implementation, especially in complex designs.  It's important to note that the performance method is an option. There is still an allowance for traditionally prescribed constructions if they've been proven  safe in relevant  standards  (i.e.  IEC60950-1 and IEC 60065).


Do I need to perform risk analysis?
No, risk analysis, assessment or management is not required for compliance.

Is the standard meant to be generic?
No, the standard has it's own specific requirements and compliance criteria, performance based and prescriptive. To that end, it's a stand-alone certification. It's also not a merger of IEC 60065 and IEC 60950-1.

Where will the standard apply?
The standard is to be applied internationally.  It's compatible with the IECEE CB scheme and international safety mark certification.

What about country variances?
While the goal is to have as much international standardization as possible, variances will be allowed for local power sources and their specific characteristics.

What if my products are currently certified to IEC 60065 or IEC 60950-1?
The second edition of IEC 62368-1 : 2014  recognizes that requiring the transfer of all existing certified products to a new standard  would cause an undue hardship on manufacturers.  Clause 4.1.1 states that "Components and subassemblies that comply with IEC60950-1 or IEC 60065 are acceptable as part of equipment covered by this standard without further evaluation other than to give consideration to the appropriate use of the component or sub-assembly in the end product."

When will I need to be compliant?
Currently it appears that mid 2019 will be the timeframe when all previous standards of 60065 and 60950  (IEC, CSA,UL and EN) are phased out and compliancy must begin.  Some power supply manufacturers are seeking compliance well ahead of schedule.

Integrated Power Designs, a valued partner of PSUI, already has a schedule of early adoption of IEC 62368-1 and will be fully compliant on all designs well before the mandated deadline. See the latest Integrated Power Designs  innovations in 200 and 400 Watt designs that carry the IEC 62368-1 certifications.

To see the full line of  IPD products, click here:
Integrated Power Designs Product Line

This is a just general outline of the IEC 62368-1. If this standard will impact your products, you should be thinking about compliancy now. Currently, there are no provisions for allowing the shipment of non-compliant products after the deadline.  Getting ahead of the compliancy mandate will ensure that your products will be allowed into the many international markets adopting  the standard.

PSUI is dedicated to working with qualified power supply manufacturers like Integrated Power Designs to ensure that all your design and safety needs will be met.  Please call PSUI for more information.

By John Benatti