Elya B. Joffe, iNCE (EMC-E, ESDC-E, EMC-MDE)
International Technical Consultant – iNARTE

Improvement Continues…

Introducing … the New iNARTE Product Safety Engineering Certification Program

In a recent iNARTE iNformer article we introduced the new ESD Control certification. In this article, we wish to introduce yet another iNARTE certification program, undergoing a major improvement in these very days – the Product Safety certification program.

Product safety compliance is a topic receiving considerable attention from policy makers and the public and forms an integral part of the responsibility of every product development engineer and supporting organization. Decisions and policies are often made by those who have little understanding of the technical implications of their decisions. The public is confused, and is often frightened by “raging oracles”. Product safety professionals formalize efforts to incorporate activities specifically oriented toward hazard identification, risk analysis and control on a comprehensive (total life cycle) basis. Product safety professionals work knowledgeably and effectively with all functions (technical, administrative, and management) toward elimination or reduction of risk to an acceptable level.

For many years it has been recognized that no widely accepted professional organization exists for the sole purpose of advancing the field of product safety, or the particular field of electrical product safety. However, within the IEEE EMC Society a grass roots effort was started to address some of the needs of product safety professionals. Almost exclusively by word-of-mouth, that group has grown to involve several hundred people interacting through the internet and at local ad hoc chapters located around the country. The group, which has functioned as the Product Safety Technical Committee of the EMCS Electromagnetic Product Safety Committee (TC-8) has enjoyed a steady growth in numbers, scope and influence over the years. Membership now extends to over 20 different countries and a variety of professional occupations.
Subsequently, the Product Safety Engineering Society of the IEEE was formed, and still enjoys a close affinity to the EMCS as a “sister society”. It is also well-recognized that EMC and product safety are closely-related product-compliance aspects.
For that purpose, we at iNARTE found it prudent to inform the EMC community, and particularly the members of the EMC Society—many of whom also address product safety and other compliance aspects—of the upcoming evolution in the Product Safety iNARTE certification.

Why Product Safety Certification?

The iNARTE Product Safety Certifications Program is geared towards qualified engineers and technicians/practitioners, who have a vested interest in advancing their profession and the industry in the field of product safety (PS).

The program focuses on engineering and practice to reduce types of risk to persons, animals, and property that have to be covered by a formal hazard analysis to meet the requirements of the relevant legislation. The ability to effectively manage product safety in design, manufacture, installation, and operational use is a mandatory requirement of all world-wide product safety legislation.

Becoming a part of the iNARTE certification community provides global proof of the professional’s skills and demonstrates commitment to his career development. Career opportunities with government and civil contractors in electronics, automation, transportation and many other technical fields can depend upon iNARTE certification.

iNARTE certified PS engineers and technicians work on advanced technology systems and components in industries that include automotive, aerospace, and military applications.

The purpose of the Product Safety Certification Program is to foster technical excellence in PS engineering. This approach establishes technical competency criteria for PS and enforces this criteria for personnel designing, manufacturing, and assessing product safety. The program benefits the engineering community as a whole by establishing a standard of excellence in PS engineering that will endure and extend across the boundaries of private and government agencies.

The iNARTE Product Safety Design Certification Program focuses on engineering and practice to reduce types of risk to persons and to meet the requirements of the relevant legislation. The ability to effectively manage product safety in design, manufacture, installation, and operational use is a mandatory requirement of all world-wide product safety legislation.

A certified product safety engineer or technician recommends measures to reduce or eliminate hazards: He establishes procedures for detection and elimination of physical and electrical hazards and avoidance of potential toxic effects and other product hazards, investigates causes of accidents and injuries resulting from product usage and develop solutions and may also evaluate potential health hazards or damage which could result from misuse of products and applies engineering principles and product standards to improve safety.

Commonly held PS positions include:

  • Product Safety Engineer
  • Compliance Engineer
  • Test Engineer
  • Product Safety Design Engineer

A certified product safety engineer or technician typically develops and conducts tests to evaluate product safety levels and recommends measures to reduce or eliminate hazards: They establish procedures for detection and elimination of physical and electrical hazards and avoidance of potential toxic effects and other product hazards. They investigate causes of accidents, injuries, and illnesses resulting from product usage and develop solutions. They may also evaluate potential health hazards or damage which could result from misuse of products and apply engineering principles and product standards to improve safety. They may also participate in preparation of product usage and precautionary label instructions.

Structure of the iNARTE Product Safety Certification Program

A multi-tier structure of certification is proposed, which builds upon, rather than replaces the existing structure. However, inasmuch as the core/baseline structure may be the same, the content and level of topics may change significantly.

Above the fundamental certification levels, higher tier certifications are proposed, in addition to specialized certifications in the field of PS.

The brief proposed definitions of the various tiers are presented below. The suggested examination subjects and skill-sets for each tier are listed in Table 1.

PS Engineer Grades

  1. PS ENGINEER (Current)
    The PS engineer should be able to:

    • Meet certification engineer requirements
    • Understand and explain safety requirements in standards,
    • Suggest safety features for a product,
    • Prepare a certification submittal, and
    • Obtain certification(s) on a pre-determined schedule.
  2. PS Certification Engineer (Under Consideration)
    The PS certification engineer should be able to:

    • Meet test technician requirements,
    • Write a test plan,
    • Describe the safety features of a product, and
    • Determine compliance to a standard.
  3. Senior PS Engineer (Under Consideration)
    The senior PS engineer should be able to:

    • Meet product safety engineer requirements,
    • Apply safety principles to a wide variety of products,
    • Participate in standards development,
    • Prepare papers and other teaching situations, and
    • Perform product safety research.

PS Technician

  1. PS Technician (Current)
    The technician should know how to

    • Calibrate the test equipment,
    • Prepare a test schedule,
    • Perform the tests, and
    • Document the result

Medical Product Safety Grades
The medical field is so specialized that following a request by the Product Safety Engineering Society, a new certification program dedicated to medical PS is under consideration for a later stage. It is only introduced here a “high level,” but will require more study and evolution for its implementation. This specialized program includes:

  1. Medical product safety test technician
  2. Medical product certification engineer
  3. Medical product safety engineer
  4. Senior medical product safety engineer

Topics included in the Product Safety Certification Exam

Then following is a list of the key topics included in the (traditional, not including the medical) PS Certification. Please note that this is a preliminary list, which is still subject to change:

Topic

PS Engineer (Current)

PS Certification Engineer (Under Consideration)

PS Senior Engineer (Under Consideration)

PS Technician (Current)

Basic Theory

 

 

 

 

Basic PS Knowledge

 

 

 

 

Hazards and Interactions

 

 

 

 

Electrical Circuit Theory & Power Electronics

 

 

 

 

Terminology

 

 

 

 

PS Design

 

 

 

 

Connection to Supply

 

 

 

 

Isolation of Supply

 

 

 

 

Selection of Components

 

 

 

 

Mechanical Hazards

 

 

 

 

Earthing

 

 

 

 

Types of Insulation

 

 

 

 

Protection against Electrical Shock

 

 

 

 

Resistance to Fire

 

 

 

 

Fire Hazards

 

 

 

 

Limits on Fuel

 

 

 

 

Limits on Heat

 

 

 

 

RF Hazards

 

 

 

 

Other hazards, e.g.: Chemical, Functional, Informational, Biological, Usability

 

 

 

 

Insulation Damage

 

 

 

 

Creepage and Air Clearance

 

 

 

 

Construction Requirements

 

 

 

 

Software

 

 

Operating and Maintenance

 

 

 

 

Environmental/Life Cycle PS

 

 

 

 

PS Analysis & Verification

 

 

 

 

Hazard Analysis

 

 

Risk Assessment

 

 

PS Rule Check

 

 

PS Testing and Validation

 

 

 

 

Safety Tests

 

 

 

 

PS Test Plans & Procedures

 

 

 

 

PS Test Reports

 

 

 

 

PS Legislation

 

 

 

 

US, EU and other Global Legislation

 

 

 

Assessment Authorities

 

 

 

Competent Bodies

 

 

 

Accompanying Documents

 

 

 

Labeling – Markings

 

 

 

Safety Certification

 

 

 

PS Management

 

 

 

 

PS Program Management

 

 

 

Design Reviews

 

 

Engineering Ethics

 

 

 

 

Team Leadership

 

 

 

“Soft Skills”

 

 

 

 

Exam Structure and Duration

The structure of all exams has changed dramatically and the PS exam is no different. No longer eight-hour exams with more than 80 questions… After thorough studies, it has been concluded that the duration can be shortened to approximately four hours and the number of questions to approximately 50.

This applies in the EMC as well as the PS exam. Furthermore, both exams – EMC (engineer and technician) and PS (Engineer and Technician), as well as the ESD Control certification previously discussed, will all be offered during the 2018 International Symposium on EMC + SIPI, in Long Beach, CA, as well as (possibly) in Singapore.

Hope to see you all there!

Stay tuned for these and more developments, in the iNARTE iNformer column in the next issue of the EMC Society Magazine.

For More Information

For more information on the iNARTE and its EMC Certification programs, please visit https://inarte.org/certifications/inarte-electromagnetic-compatibility-emc-emi-certification/