The OSEK operating system provides services for processing recurring events (for example, timers that provide an interrupt at regular intervals, or encoders at axles that generate an interrupt in case of a constant change of an angle). These events are recorded into implementation dependent counters, then used by software alarms. When an alarm (that can be one-shot or periodic) fires, a task can be activated, or an event can be set, or finally an alarm-callback routine can be called. Alarms and counters are statically defined at compile time. The only dynamic parameters that can be set are when an alarm has to expire and the period of a cyclic alarm.

To ease the tracing and the debugging of the system the OSEK standard provides system specific hook routines to allow user-defined actions within the OS internal processing. These hook routines are called by the operating system and they are composed by user code that is executed into an OS primitive, usually with ISR of category 2 disabled. These routines are only allowed to use a subset of API functions (mainly they can use functions for get internal OS states, to ease the tracing of the application). They are called at system startup, at system shutdown, before and after a preemption, and in case of an error. In particular, two different kinds of errors are distinguished:

Application errors

The operating system could not execute the requested service correctly, but assumes the correctness of its internal data.

Fatal errors

The operating system can no longer assume correctness of its internal data. In this case the operating system calls the centralized system shutdown.

The standard gives two ways of handling errors: a centralized way (using an Error Hook that is called every time an error occurs in a system primitive), and a decentralized way (where the application code must check itself for the correctness of the return value of every primitive).