Safety Instrumented System Certificate Program

The Certificate in Safety Instrumented Systems (SIS) is an instructor-led 100% online program. It consists of four modules covering the different aspects of the SIS safety life-cycle in the SIS standard ISA/IEC-61511 from a technical and practical point of view. Sessions will include practical information from the instructor’s 40 years of experience in the industry.

The certificate consists of four modules, each with six live sessions with the instructor. There are weekly reading assignments, some homework and chapter quizzes

Module IV requires participants to create an SIS design project with the knowledge acquired from previous modules. Participants will be required to design an SIS system at the system level and provide the system level documents associated with the system they have created.  

The certificate will help participants on the job and to enter the field of instrumented safety systems. The certificate material, when combined with the required industry experience is designed for participants to successfully pass the Certified Functional Safety Expert (CFSE/CFSP) certification examinations (

What you will learn

  1. What is a safety instrumented system and how are they applied in the petrochemical industry?
  2. What standards apply to safety instrumented systems (SIS)
  3. What is functional safety and how does it make a plant safer?
  4. What is the Safety Lifecycle and how is it applied to SIS?
  5. What are the differences between safety systems and control systems?
  6. What are independent protection layers (IPL’s) and how they are allocated?
  7. How target safety integrity levels (SIL) are determined
  8. What is a safety requirement specification (SRS)?
  9. What is the probability of failure on demand average (PFDavg)?
  10. How are achieved SIL levels determined?
  11. SIS technology selection for logic solvers and field instruments
  12. Considerations in selecting field instruments
  13. Engineering and implementation of SIS systems
  14. SIS system testing – FAT, SAT proof testing, & partial testing
  15. SIS Operation and Maintenance requirements
  16. Implementation of cybersecurity and physical security for SIS

Who should attend?

Instrument, electrical, control, and other engineers who are working in the SIS field and engineers who wish to enter the field will benefit from the knowledge in this program. Those individuals who are seeking a certificate in the SIS technical field to indicate to their employer or future employer their level of knowledge in the SIS technical field can achieve that through successfully completing this program. Supervisors who supervise SIS systems and who seek a deeper understanding of SIS and functional safety would also benefit.


Some experience is required in instrumentation used in refineries and process plants (process transmitters, control/shutdown valves, distributed control systems (DCS), PLC’s, relays, pneumatic systems) and in some knowledge of process hazards analysis (PHA) and risk assessment. Basic algebra skills are also required.

Course content

This online certificate consists of four modules.  Live online sessions are on Thursdays, 7:00 - 8:30 pm Central Standard Time (CST).


The fee for each module is $1195.00
Register and pay $4400 for the entire Certificate in advance and save $380!

Please contact Chris Abraham at 902-943-9342 or via email (Chris.Abraham@Dal.Ca) for more information.

Certificate requirements

It is highly recommended that participants complete the modules in sequential order. The certificate is awarded after the completion of the four modules, including all quizzes, homework, and final exams. This represents approximately 200 hours of training, which includes online sessions, assignments, and exam preparation. The participants must attain a minimum of 70 percent for each module and an aggregate average of at least 80 percent in the program.

Reference book

Safety Instrumented Systems: A Life-Cycle Approach, Paul Gruhn & Simon Lucchini, 2019. The book is available from


Qing Cai is a control system engineer (PE) and a Certified Functional Safety Expert (CFSE). He has 16 years of experience in functional safety engineering and operation and control, instrument and electrical engineering in the chemical industry.

Cai is the Director-elect (2022-2023) of International Society of Automation (ISA)’s Safety and Security Division.

He is currently the Regional Principal Functional Safety Engineer for Covestro, in Baytown, Texas. He leads initiatives for improvement at the plant, which includes automating Safety Requirement Specification (SRS), starting failure data statistics, managing prior use process. He is a functional safety trainer.

Prior to his work at Covestro, Cai held a number of functional safety and process control positions at different Bayer plants around the world. He was also the Functional Safety Trainer for the Bayer CropScience plant in Villefranche-sur-Saone France and for those in Muskegon, Michigan; Kansas City, Missouri; Hangzhou, China; and Vapi, India.

Cai has a Master of Business Administration from the University of Houston in Clear Lake and a Bachelor of Automation from the East China University of Science and Technology.