Help Prevent Injuries with a Machinery Warnings Review
Effective warning labels on machinery and equipment are vital throughout a wide variety of industries. Whenever people interact with machinery, the potential for injury is possible. Labels, also known as “decals” or “stickers”, can play a vital role in helping to support safer equipment and workplaces and can enhance a hazard communication program.
When potential hazards can’t be removed 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 people about potential hazards associated with their products. This includes providing information about how to implement risk-reduction techniques to safely use, transport, install, and dispose of the product. In that way, labels are an important part of risk communication. It's important to communicate risks through warnings, especially when it's not possible to design 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 often encounter product manufacturers who mistakenly think their safety warnings are sufficient, when in fact they don't meet today's standards. Typical mistakes that we see in machine labels 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- Issues with formats and color – outdated OSHA or ANSI standards, lack of consistency, or colors that fail to meet U.S. or international standards.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 or quality – 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 a personalized review of your product safety labels, in addition to our product safety services. This way, you can be sure that your equipment and machinery are safe for use. 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.
- In-depth 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 addressing factors 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.