Importance Of Technical Writing Part 2 "Safety"

The rule to follow for designing a product is “if you have a hazard and you can’t eliminate it or guard against it, you must warn about it.”

First of all, the major benefit of providing your consumers with as much safety information as possible is to help them prevent an avoidable accident. no one wants to get hurt, and as a business owner, we do not want anyone to be hurt or disabled as a direct result of our product or product support literature. You can’t eliminate consumers who do not use common sense when using your products, but if you can prevent injury by making them aware of the hazard, do it.

Another important reason for safety information is limiting damages awarded from a product liability lawsuit. Nothing can stop you from being sued. In fact, from what we understand, lawyers start out suing everyone involved and then drop those whom they know will not be able to pay large settlements. If you don’t think limiting your liability is a major concern, go to a retail store and look at a lawn mower or a ladder. To put any more warning labels on a ladder, the manufacturers are going to have to redesign it with more surface area.

So, as we see more and more lawsuits, you need to provide your consumers with as much safety information as possible. It’s critical, because a single lawsuit has the potential of wiping out a small business that is not properly prepared.

Providing clear, concise safety information can help reduce or eliminate the damages awarded by a lawsuit. In one case, that was settled out of court, a manufacturer’s insurance company paid out a $200,000.00 settlement. Why? Because the product had a built-in step with no hand or grab rails for egress and ingress. If their manuals had included a warning at the time of the lawsuit, they would have won this case. A simple phrase like “…it is the installers responsibility to determine proper ingress and egress requirements, such as steps, hand grips, grab bars,…” would have prevented a $200,000.00 payout. This company told us that over the years since, they estimate they have saved over a million dollars in insurance payouts because of properly documented warnings. If your insurance rates are going up due to lawsuit settlements, it’s likely you could have paid for our services with the money now being spent on insurance premiums.

Steve Nichol, President and Co-founder of TPA, Inc.

See full post here: TPA, Inc.2014-06-30.