NORTHBROOK, ILLINOIS — Nov. 13, 2023 — A common misconception about safety management is that it is a stand-alone activity, performed separately from product development and management. On the contrary, functional safety management needs to be part of the entire project plan from beginning to end. In the automotive domain, the ISO 26262 standard requires manufacturers to appoint a manager to ensure timeliness and completion of safety activities.

Selecting an appropriate candidate for the safety manager position requires consideration of many factors. Safety managers focus on overseeing the activities that are essential to achieving functional safety and must have extensive system knowledge and expertise in the safety standard’s requirements. Typically, they are responsible for ensuring that the right and sufficient resources are in place to achieve the safety plan. It requires an authoritative, credible staff member. Distributed development and the innate complexity of safety activities can lead to the necessity of multiple safety managers.

However, finding the appropriately empowered individual internally can prove challenging. If the organization appoints its own internal safety manager, pressures other than the safety of the product may provide motivations that conflict with achieving safety. Likewise, maintaining a safety manager outside the design-responsible entity can lead to the candidate having insufficient technical knowledge and clout to serve the role effectively.

To address such concerns, consider leveraging a third party to perform the role of functional safety manager. With independence, concerns like biases in decision-making and the influence of business constraints are reduced risks. Developers benefit from experts with backgrounds in functional safety, automotive systems and automotive development processes. The independent, external safety manager can focus on safety assurance and can help identify compliance gaps and propose measures to address such gaps.

Ultimately, an independent safety manager can act as the key point of contact for safety with the customer’s customer, as well as perform independent confirmation reviews. Having a third-party functional safety manager with expertise in similar projects across the industry can help with safety assurance. kVA by UL experts can take on the safety manager role and help guide your team through functional safety assurance. We can do this at a value to your organization with our efficient and effective talent.

Please contact kVA by UL Solutions to learn more about how we can deliver value as your safety manager. We look forward to working together to help you reach standards compliance so you can release safer products to the market in an optimal time frame.