Help Prevent Injuries with Effective Machinery Labels
Machinery Warnings Review
Effective warning labels on machinery and equipment is vital throughout a wide variety of industries. Whenever people interact with machinery, the potential for injury is possible. Labels can play a vital role in helping to support safer equipment and workplaces. When potential hazards can’t be eliminated from a product, warnings and instructions are one of your means to communicate risk. Although warnings are a critical component of product safety and meeting your legal duty to warn, many manufacturers fail to use today’s best practices. This can lead to injury, liability issues and lawsuits.
Labeling Requirements for Manufacturers
Manufacturers have a legal duty to warn: they must give people the information needed to avoid potential hazards throughout their product’s expected life – through, for example, transportation, installation, testing, operation, shut down, inspection, maintenance, final decommissioning and disposal. In that way, labels are an important part of risk communication. Communicating risk through warnings is a critical component of risk reduction, especially when it’s not practical to design out or guard against a particular hazard.
By following industry consensus standards that define today’s best practices in visual safety communication – the ANSI Z535.4 and ISO 3864-2 – equipment manufacturers can improve product safety and reduce their liability exposure. However, there’s a reason that “failure to warn” and “inadequate warnings” continue to top today’s product liability allegations: creating effective on-product warnings isn’t always easy. We frequently come across product manufacturers – across all different industries and responsible for many different types of machinery and equipment – who mistakenly believe their warnings are adequate, when in fact, they’re not up to today’s most current standards. Typical mistakes that we see include:
- Issues with symbols – a lack of symbols, poorly drawn symbols or symbols not formatted to the ISO standards.
- Issues with formats and color – outdated OSHA or ANSI standards, lack of consistency, or colors that fail to meet U.S. or international standards.
- Issues with label materials – inferior grade materials, the wrong material for the application, or labels that fail to be visible over the machine’s lifecycle.
- Issues with signal words and word messages – wrong signal words, presenting too much information, or failing to provide adequate information about the hazard.
- Issues with the approach/audience – a “wallpaper” of warnings, not taking your audience/their training into consideration, or lack of consistency across all areas of your safety program.
Our Label Review Services
We offer equipment and machinery manufacturers an in-depth, personalized review of your product safety labels through Clarion Safety Assessment. You can trust in our 30 years of standards leadership and unparalleled knowledge in the field for quality results; we’ve worked with 15,000+ clients and nearly 100 million signs and labels in use, and zero Clarion Safety customers have had “failure to warn” or “inadequate warnings” allegations brought against them.
With this service, you’ll learn tangible optimization techniques to put to use in your warnings and instructions – and in your product safety approach. Our team – with their expertise in best practices for warnings and extensive training in the ANSI and ISO standards – evaluate the relevant elements of your machinery and warnings and provide the recommendations you need to help ensure your safety label program’s success. Our process and deliverables include:
- Scoping consultation to get a baseline understanding of your needs, and provide an overview of applicable ANSI/ISO standards as well as relevant industry-specific guidelines. We’ll also discuss and prepare to gather information – such as warning design samples, machinery risk assessment reports, and manual samples – that will allow us to conduct our review.
- Indepth consultation where we’ll bring you and your chosen team back together to share preliminary observations and review any additional information needed to conclude our audit process.
- Comprehensive report deliverable providing you with recommendations on:
- Label design changes based on best practices and applicable standards. This may include text and symbol options, harmonized ANSI/ISO approaches, consolidation opportunities, consistency opportunities and multilingual options.
- Label material/construction to meet durability requirements for the anticipated environment of use.
- Product safety approach addressingfactors like the risk assessment process, manuals and instructions, safeguarding, and additional compliance or certification considerations such as CE/UKCA marking requirements.
- Operational/productivity or purchasing-based improvements such as kitting options, label format (sheets, roll form, or individual labels) and ordering options for multiple divisions / locations.
- Enhanced digitalization of your safety processes and communication.