An Introduction to Safety Integrity Level (SIL)
An overview of safety integrity level (SIL) and its uses in industry.
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Risk is an inherent part of our everyday lives. Whether we are in our homes, our cars, or at work, there is always potential for issues to arise. This is where safety systems come in to mitigate danger to ourselves, those around us, our property, and the environment. In a vehicle, for example, lane-assist technology takes incoming sensor data from a lane departure camera, infrared sensors, and lasers to prevent the driver from unknowingly merging into another lane by pulling the vehicle back on course.
Within industrial environments (e.g., medical/pharmaceuticals, utilities, food/beverage, package, energy, etc.), this is where functional safety comes into play. Industrial safety systems rely on sensor and actuator systems and controllers (e.g., logic) to maintain certain levels of safety within a facility. And today, it is increasingly important to evaluate system safety levels. Safety integrity level (SIL) is risk analysis associated with industrial equipment safety systems. In other words, it is an assessment that ensures there is little risk to operators in the event of a failure in plant machinery and automated equipment. This article provides a general overview of SIL and its uses in industry.