Absence of proof is not proof of absence

In my work in ‘EMC for Functional Safety’ over the last 10+ years, I have ventured out of the cosy world of electromagnetic (EM) compliance, where everything is done by EMC testing, into the ‘wild west’ of safety engineering, where affordable EMC testing can never be thorough enough to demonstrate that a design will be safe enough over its lifetime in its EM environment.

In the safety engineering world, I have often been told (and still am), even by the most senior executives and official regulators – who really ought to know better – that: “We have no evidence that safety problems can be caused by electromagnetic interference.” What they mean by this is: “therefore there is no problem: EMI does not cause safety incidents”.

Published in the EMC Journal, Issue 78, September 2008

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