Identifying hazards: IEC 62368-1, the new hazard-based testing standard for consumer electronics

Author : Richard Poate | Senior Manager | TÜV SÜD

01 December 2020

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As innovation has seen the lines blur between previously distinct technologies, compliance requirements for multimedia products have increasingly been falling in both IEC 60065 (AV equipment) & IEC 60950 (IT equipment).

The full version of this article was originally featured in the December 2020 issue of EPDT magazine [read the digital issue]. Sign up to receive your own copy each month.

Here, Richard Poate, Senior Manager at global product testing & certification organisation, TÜV SÜD explains how, as of December 20th 2020, a new hazard-based product-safety standard for ICT & AV equipment will supersede them both: IEC 62368-1:2018 (Audio/video, information & communication technology equipment - Part 1: Safety requirements).

But IEC 62368 is far more than just a merger of the two previous standards, as it has a different structure, but still contains some of the same specific compliance criteria as its predecessors. This is also the first time that a hazard-based approach has been taken for these types of products, and the new standard therefore follows a completely different methodology. The previous two standards were known as ‘prescriptive’ standards and closely dictated product design. Rather than prescriptive tests, IEC 62368 uses a performance methodology to assess the safeguards incorporated to protect against the potential risks presented by identified hazards.

Hazard-based safety engineering (HBSE) principles are intended to protect end-users by identifying any potentially hazardous energy sources and the mechanisms by which they may transfer energy to a user. This means that manufacturers must no longer prove that prescribed requirements have been met, but it requires them instead to demonstrate that hazards have been identified and considered, that appropriate safeguards have been implemented and that the performance of those safeguards has been suitably tested and evaluated. There must also be evidence that the product has been designed to be safe for use in the expected context.

Read the full article in EPDT's December 2020 issue...


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