Bill Kitzes Product Safety Management

Product Safety Management

Building Adequate Warnings

National Safety Council
86th Annual Congress and Exposition
Session Number: 69
Session Title: When Risk Can't Be Eliminated: Building Adequate Warnings
Speaker Name: Bill Kitzes, Consumer Safety Associates
Date: Monday, October 26th 1998

It is a tenet of safety management that the best way to prevent injury is to eliminate, or design out, the hazard. If you can’t, then guard against the hazard contacting the user by placing a guard or barrier between the energy source and the operator, and create an interlock to prevent operation without the guard in place. Finally, in conjunction with guarding where possible, warn users of the danger and motivate them to avoid injury.

I. Principles of Safety Analysis
  A. Written Corporate Safety Policy
  B. Hazard Identification - Severity
  C. Risk Assessment / Design Review Hazards - Environment - Foreseeable Use
  D. Monitor Safety Performance
  E. Corrective Action - Reasonable Safety Measures Eliminate - Guard - Warn
II. Foreseeable Use
  A. National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS)
  B. Epidemiological - In-Depth Injury Reports (IDI’s)
  C. Special Studies - Hazard Analyses
  D. Death Certificates
  E. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
III. Risk Factors - Why Consumers Act
  A. Environment of Use
  B. Marketing and Promotion
  C. Vulnerable Populations
  D. Packaging
IV. Why Warn
  A. Safety Measures / Residual Risk
  B. Decision making tools
  C. Users protect themselves
  D. Hazard perception
    (1) Magnitude of the danger
    (2) Likelihood of injury
    (3) Initial impression
    (4) Existing knowledge
    (5) Familiarity / overconfidence
V. American National Standards Institute Z535.4 - Product Safety Signs and Labels
  A. Performance requirements for design, use and placement
  B. Product safety sign should alert persons to:
    (1) A specific hazard
    (2) The degree or level of seriousness
    (3) The probable consequences of injury or death
    (4) How the hazard can be avoided
  C. Warning label format
    (1) Signal Word
      a. Danger - Imminently hazardous situation that will result in serious injury or death
      b. Warning - Potentially hazardous situation that could result in serious injury or death
      c. Caution - Minor injury, property damage or unsafe practice
    (2) Message Panel
      a. Identify the hazard
      b. Instruction to avoid injury
      c. Advise of consequences
    (3) Pictoral
      a. Graphically communicate hazard
      b. ANSI Z535.3 criteria for safety symbols
      c. Advise of consequences
VI. Developing the Message Panel
  A. Active voice
  B. Headline style
  C. Accurate
  D. Specific
  E. Avoid prepositional phrases
  F. Bilingual
VII. Safety Communications
  A. Manuals
  B. Packaging
  C. Advertising
VIII. Building Adequate Warnings
  A. Concrete Cutter / Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
  B. Deck Wash / Federal Hazardous Substances Act
  C. Pump Jack Scaffold / Collapse
  D. Smoke Detectors / Ionization v. Photoelectric
  E. Auto Child Restraints / Age and position
  F. Water Heater / Flammable vapor explosion
  G. Telephone Pole / Defective base
  H. Flammable Bathrobe / Cigarette ignition
  I. Minibike / Age labeling
  J. Sleds / Flipover
  K. Solar Pool Covers / Drowning
  L. Ladder / Unsafe behavior
  M. Power Mowers / Backover
  N. All Terrain Vehicles / Multiple hazards
  O. Trampoline / Home hazard
  P. Rototiller / Recall
  Q. Laquer Paint / Explosion
  R. Children's Hazards