Safety Standard EN 62368
The standard EN 62368 will take over and cease the safety standards for AV equipment (60065) and ICT equipment (60950-1) on Dec 20th, 2020. It aims in introducing a different, more hazard-based philosophy, to product testing. This standard 62368 adopts fundamentally different engineering concepts and principles. Due to that, some products, that already exist and are in compliance with 60950-1 or 60065, will have to be re-investigated to attain certification.
The new standard EN 62368 has one very essential aspect that all manufacturers will need to keep in mind. The standard will apply not only to the final product meant for end-users but also to its components and subsystems, such as power supplies.
There are a few reasons that led to the need for introducing the new standard, as follows:
- A necessity for a better clarified and transparent framework to evaluate the product safety. The distinctions between both ICT and AV equipment have become increasingly blurred, all because of the constant development of new markets and technologies;
- Product designers are in need of more flexibility when it comes to product design and its subsequent assessment.
All the equipment, currently falling under the scope of the safety standards 60950-1 and 60065, will be included within the scope of the new safety standard EN 62368. In this regard, the following product types will be covered:
- Consumer electronics (e.g. amplifiers, digital cameras, music players)
- Computing and networking products (e.g. PCs, routers, laptops, tablets, as well as their power supplies)
- Displays and display units (e.g. digital projectors, TVs, monitors)
- Telecommunication products
- Office appliances (e.g. copiers, document shredders)
- Various other types of home or business equipment.
The standard EN 62368 takes a proactive risk-based approach by covering hazard-based safety engineering (HBSE) principles. The focus of the HBSE principles is to make sure that:
- All potential hazards, capable of causing pain or damage to users, are taken into account. Such dangers could be, for example, electrical shock energy, mechanical energy, electrically caused fire, chemical energy, thermal energy and radiation energy (including acoustic or optical energy).
- Proper safeguard schemes of hazards prevention are applied.
- The effectiveness of these schemes is measured.
Although the standard covers basic safety aspects of AV/ICT equipment, its scope doesn’t include any functional safety aspects, meaning that other safety standards will need to be applied additionally. For those who don’t know:
- Basic safety is defined as freedom from threads caused by physical hazards as a result of the design and construction of the product. Such hazards can be fire and electrical shock.
- Functional safety relates to freedom from unacceptable risk caused by accidents in the product’s performance (e.g. software problems).
The hazards, addressed in the standard EN 62368, are categorised in the following three classes:
- Class I: hazards that don’t cause pain or injury, and a fire ignition is not likely to happen;
- Class II: hazards that don’t cause harm but may be painful, and a fire ignition is possible but leading to minimal damage;
- Class III: hazards that can cause both, pain and injury, and may lead to the need for immediate medical attention. A fire ignition is very likely to occur, and it’s dangerous, characterised with rapid growth and spread of fire.
Additionally to the above said, the new safety standard also divides the potential users of the AV/ICT equipment in three groups: ordinary users, instructed users, and skilled users.