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Employee competence according to ISO 26262

Employee Competency 26262

Editor: Hendrik Meyl, Achim Gerber

Functional safety is often treated as just another functionality in the product. However, this overlooks the fact that functional safety is an inherent characteristic of the development object, unlike, for example, the components of active safety, which actually add new functions to the vehicle. Therefore, functional safety is an overarching topic and correspondingly extensive.

Why is competence so important?

Functional safety is ultimately achieved through excellence in development, by carefully managing the entire creation of a product. This involves not only the developers, but everyone involved: purchasing, sales, management, project management, quality management, as well as development and testing. Everyone contributes to assuring that everything is thought of, by correctly developing, checking, sourcing and manufacturing everything.

Employee excellence is what ISO 26262:2018 aims to achieve with clause 5.4.4 “Competence Management”. It is the key to ensuring that the requirements for a product are actually all met, as is the safety provided (see BGH VI ZR 107/08). But beware: this is not aimed at ensuring that everyone involved must know the entire ISO 26262. No, this aims to ensure that everyone is competent in their respective roles. The project manager steers the project and directs the activities, the software developer creates the software, and the tester pushes the system to its limits and even beyond.

The respective competence is flanked by the knowledge of how far to go for  sufficient confidence in the product when human lives are at stake. This knowledge has been written down by the automotive industry in the ISO 26262:2018 standard, and serves as a guide for everyone to find exactly the right measure.

So how do I prove competence?

Evidence of employee competence is ideally systematically recorded and maintained in a competence management system as part of the employee management system. For smaller companies without a competence management system, it is also sufficient to maintain the hiring criteria, evaluations, project experience and further training in the personnel file.

As an employee’s career progresses, ongoing training and the certificates obtained also play an increasingly important role. It is important to know that certificates are only issued after a successful examination and that a competence can only actually be proven with an examination.

As is often the case, functional safety does not really require something new, so please do not redo everything in the spirit of functional safety. Use all the good things that have always been done, such as testing employee competence as part of an employment process.

With the help of this basis, the project manager has and is able to present a conclusive picture of the project staffing. Thus, he can recognize in time if important skills are missing in the project team.

Who tests the competence of my employees?

There are various providers for training, testing and certification related to ISO 26262. Often these are generic trainings that cover the entire breadth of the standard, but unfortunately lack depth to generate actual added value for day-to-day business.

Based on our many years of experience, we can only recommend that you take advantage of training courses on ISO 26262 that are as role-oriented as possible. These have less theoretical content, as they are limited to the individual roles. In return, however, they offer many more opportunities to convert theory into competence in exercises. Thus, they create noticeable added value in project activities.

How can Knüvener Mackert help you now?

Knüvener Mackert has entered into a strategic partnership with Munich Safety GmbH for the training, examination and certification of employees for functional safety. Munich Safety offers certification exams and related training courses on its highly innovative online learning platform. Recently, the courses can also be booked conveniently online.

Logo Munich SafetyAs an introductory promotion for this feature, we are offering all newsletter readers a 50% discount on all products for bookings made on the learning portal using the coupon KMNL22MAY. This promotion is valid up to and including June 3, 2022.

Quick decision makers still have the opportunity to take the one-week compact course from May 23, 2022 to May 28, 2022. There is no course on Thursday May 26 due to the Ascension Day holiday. Therefore, the course goes up to and including Saturday.

Do you need training and certification for your employees?

We offer the entire spectrum starting from online in-house part-time courses for 3 people or more, through full-time courses and on-site training, up to the license model of training modules for use in your own academy.


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