National Microelectronics Institute


Reliability and its impact on Safety - is there a Choice?


University of Greenwich

Thu 14 Apr 2011
1000 - 1600

Special discount for NMI Members - see event web page

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Reliability is synonymous with freedom from unacceptable levels of functional failure that lead to unavailability of products, systems or services. Unlike safety, reliability problems may be characterised by poor design, technology choices inadequate for the intended application or environment, manufacturing errors, faults and poor maintenance. The focal point in reliability is continued functionality of the product or system and the consequences of such failures. Reliability, as yet, is not generally regulated and may be regarded as mainly a commercial decision by duty holders. Nevertheless unacceptable level of failures can affect human health, safety or welfare because of the hazards that can arise, for example by failures of transport - (such as electronics in aircraft, cars and or trains). There have been a number of recalls in recent times and the "Time-bomb" presentation at therecent Reliability OutReach event highlight such hazards


Safety arises from freedom from unacceptable levels of harm to people and is an essential property of most products, systems, processes or services. However, in view of ever increasing complexity, development and change, safety is often difficult if not sometimes impossible to entirely predict, manage and guarantee. At the same time, rising social awareness and the more stringent legal requirements almost globally demand higher levels of safety performance from products, processes, systems, services and the duty holders. Safety problems are characterised by unintended yet harmful incidents and accidents that apart from acts of nature, are mainly traceable to our shortcomings in concept, design, development, deployment or maintenance of products and services. Safety is heavily regulated and health, safety and welfare of people are under legal protection in most developed countries.



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