IEC 60601-1 is an International Standard and applies to the basic safety and essential performance of electrical medical equipment and electrical medical systems, referenced as ME EQUIPMENT and ME SYSTEMS. This standard can be used in part to show compliance under the US-FDA, Canada-Health Canada, and EU Medical Device Directive 2007/47/EC regulations.  

IEC/EN 60601-1 identifies the conditions for application of testing requirements for ME EQUIPMENT or ME SYSTEMS.  Unless otherwise specified, the requirements of this standard shall apply in normal use and reasonably foreseeable misuse. When applying this standard to ME EQUIPMENT or ME SYSTEMS intended for the compensation or alleviation of disease, injury or disability, the definitions and requirements that use the term patient shall be considered as applying to the person for whom the ME EQUIPMENT or ME SYSTEM is intended.

IEC/EN 60601-1 requires the manufacturer to identify the essential performance and identify which functions of the ME EQUIPMENT and ME SYSTEMS are specific to the essential and intended performance. Where this standard specifies that ESSENTIAL PERFORMANCE is to be maintained following a particular test, these functions shall be used and compliance shall be checked by inspection, and if necessary, by functional test.

The object of this IEC/EN 60601-1 standard is to specify general requirements and to serve as the basis for particular or collateral standards.

Collateral standards in the IEC/EN 60601 series specify general requirements for basic safety and essential performance of a subgroup of ME EQUIPMENT (e.g. radiological equipment),  a specific characteristic of all ME EQUIPMENT not fully addressed in this standard. Applicable collateral standards become normative at the date of their publication and shall apply together with this standard.

Click here for a list of the IEC/EN 60601 standards.

The IEC/EN 60601-1 identifies basic safety as freedom for unacceptable risks directly caused by physical hazards when ME EQUIPMENT is used under normal conditions and single fault conditions.

IEC 60601-1 identifies and defines the conditions and requirements related to RISK.

RISK is generally defined as the combination of the probability of occurrence of harm and the SEVERITY of that harm. ISO 14971 is the most commonly used standard for risk analysis and assessment.

RISK ANALYSIS is referenced as the systematic use of available information to identify and to estimate the RISK. ISO 14971 is the most commonly used standard for risk analysis and assessment.

RISK ASSESSMENT is the overall process taken by the manufacturer when comprising the RISK ANALYSIS and the RISK EVALUATION. ISO 14971 is the most commonly used standard for risk analysis and assessment.

RISK CONTROL PROCESS is the analysis through which decisions are reached and protective measures are implemented for reducing RISKS to, or maintaining RISKS within, specified levels, and must be prepared and maintained by the manufacturer. ISO 14971 is the most commonly used standard for risk analysis and assessment.

RISK EVALUATION shows the judgement, on the basis of RISK ANALYSIS, of whether a RISK which is acceptable has been achieved in a given context based on the current values of the intended use. ISO 14971 is the most commonly used standard for risk analysis and assessment.

RISK MANAGEMENT is the systematic application of management policies, procedures and practices to the tasks of analyzing, evaluating and controlling RISK.  ISO 14971 is the most commonly used standard for risk analysis and assessment.

RISK MANAGEMENT FILE is the formal set of records and other documents, not necessarily contiguous, that are produced by a RISK MANAGEMENT PROCESS by the manufacturer. ISO 14971 is the most commonly used standard for risk analysis and assessment.

The IEC/EN standard identifies three classes of ME EQUIPMENT and ME SYSTEMS:

Class I Devices

Class I devices are considered to be at the lowest level of risk of all medical devices and are therefore required to comply with the lowest level of regulatory control

Class II Devices

Class II devices are simple devices, though they are more complicated than Class I devices. They are also considered to be at slightly higher risk than Class I devices and therefore require more stringent regulatory controls to provide assurance of their effectiveness and safety.

Class III Devices

Class III devices are generally considered to be the most complex devices. They are also considered to be at the highest risk and therefore require more stringent regulatory controls to provide assurance of their effectiveness and safety.

Contact D.L.S. to determine how best to classify your equipment or system, and how best to address the risks involved with regulatory compliance.