Obituary - Geoff Alstead

Geoff Alstead, former IEC TC 56 Chairman dies

By Philippa King Rojo

On 16 December, the Secretary of IEC TC (Technical Committee) 56: Dependability, Mick Maghar, announced the death of the committee's former chairman, Geoff Alstead, who died peacefully at home with his family after a long illness. On behalf of the entire committee, Maghar passed on condolences to Geoff's wife, Judith, telling her that Geoff would be sorely missed.

Geoff Alstead Geoff Alstead

Former IEC TC 56 Chairman

Indeed, the May 2011 e-tech, reporting various nominations of officers within IEC Consultative Committees, stated that SMB (Standardization Management Board) had approved the nomination of Geoff Alstead to a third term on ACOS (the Advisory Committee on Safety). Geoff continued working as Convenor of IEC TC 56 AG 7, the TC Strategic Advisory Group for as long as his health would allow him. Geoff had previously served as Chairman of TC 56 from 1996 until 2007 and was head of the UK delegation for a number of years.

ACOS deals with safety matters that are not specific to a single TC. Its task is to guide and coordinate IEC work on safety matters to ensure consistency in IEC safety standards. Reporting to the SMB, ACOS assigns horizontal and group safety functions to TCs to ensure this consistency.

Throughout his career as an expert on International Standards, Geoff worked hard to ensure that the concept of dependability, the ability of a system to perform as and when required to meet specific objectives, was understood by experts and those working with standards on an international basis. He carried out training sessions, holding seminars to show the benefit of International Standards in promoting trade on "equal and transparent terms" while reducing risks and transaction costs.

Geoff made sure that the connotation of dependability was applied throughout the life-cycle of a product or system in a cost-effective manner so that it was managed right from conception up to its obsolescence.

Speaking about him personally, Eric Mahy, Convenor of TC 56/MT (Maintenance Team) 9, which is responsible for revising IEC 60300-3-3Dependability management – Part 3-3: Application guide – Life cycle costing, and a member of TC 56/MT 11, WG 3: Dependability management and WG 4: System aspects of dependability, said: "Geoff and I first met professionally in the early ‘80s, when he asked me to become involved in Life-Cycle Costing.

"I shall miss his wise counsel and his quiet opinion, as well as the pleasure of his company in TC 56", concluded Mahy.

Geoff Alstead Geoff Alstead