Control system safety standards are crucial in ensuring the safe operation of various systems, particularly those relying on electronic, pneumatic or other control systems to prevent injury or death of humans. A prominent standard in the machinery domain, ISO 13849, has been supplemented with a sector-specific C type standard in 2018, which is titled ISO 19014 – Functional safety for earth moving machinery. While they both aim to enhance control system safety, they differ in their scope, application, and specific requirements. In this article, we will explore the key differences between ISO 13849 and ISO 19014 and how they need to be considered.

ISO 13849: The Fundamentals

ISO 13849, titled “Safety-related parts of control systems”, is a comprehensive standard developed to provide a framework for achieving safe control systems in various industries. It is applicable to a wide range of sectors, including process industries, industrial machinery, off-road equipment and other kinds of machinery.


Key features of ISO 13849 include:


  • Risk Assessment: ISO 13849 requires organizations to conduct thorough risk assessments to identify potential hazards and evaluate their impact on safety-related systems, resulting in a performance level requirement (PL) for safety control functions
  • Guidance on the implementation of safety control functions based on their PL as well as on design principles and generic faults to be avoided for different technologies
  • General requirements on verification and validation to ensure that safety-related systems meet their safety requirements.

ISO 19014: A Specific Focus

In contrast, ISO 19014, is a standard with a narrower focus, and hence categorized as type C standard with specific requirements for the functional-safety-related aspects of earth moving machinery control systems. ISO 19014 is aligned with ISO 13849, both standards have to be applied in combination for earth moving machinery. However, as a type C standard, ISO 19014 overrules ISO 13849 where they are conflicting.


The specific differences include:


  • Specific, strict requirements for the environmental robustness of the systems, including test requirements
  • Guidelines and simplifications for adapting ISO 13849 principles to the earth moving machinery domain
  • Guidance on conducting risk assessments specific to earth moving machinery applications, helping manufacturers identify and mitigate potential hazards.


In summary, while both ISO 13849 and ISO 19014 are safety standards aimed at enhancing safety-related control systems, they differ in terms of scope and focus. ISO 13849 is a broad standard applicable to various industries, emphasizing a systematic approach to identify risks and mitigate them in system design. On the other hand, ISO 19014 is a specialized standard focused on earth moving machinery control systems, providing detailed guidance tailored to the sector and serving as a supplement to ISO 13849. Understanding the distinctions between these standards is essential for organizations to ensure the safe and standard-compliant operation of their earth moving machinery – contact us for a training if you have to deal with the topic in depth or if you need a certification for a specific earth moving machinery application.

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If you have any questions about control system safety standards, particularly those systems that rely on electronic, pneumatic or other control systems to prevent injury or death of humans, please do not hesitate to contact our functional safety experts.