Re: Fw: Why do we put so many warnings in our manuals?

Subject: Re: Fw: Why do we put so many warnings in our manuals?
From: Tuples -at- aol -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 30 Jul 2002 15:59:20 EDT

In a message dated 7/30/02 9:45:26 AM Mountain Standard Time,
rlhooker -at- telocity -dot- com writes:

> So please consider the next time you read in the newspaper about someone
> winning a multi-million dollar lawsuit for a claim that appears to be bogus
> on its face that there may be more to the story. After the lawyers takes
> their cut, which is I believe around 25-33%, the victim's family may be
> paying medical bills, nursing home fees, etc., that make the what remains
> the money look paltry.

I'll tell you this: after photographing many accidents and products for
liability cases, I can tell you that people will sue regardless of merit.
People who misuse products should not get a single dime for their folly. The
manufacturer should never be sued if their product tests safe and the
required warnings are discussed in the documentation.

If we were to warn the user about every possible way the product could be
misused, we would have to provide a separate book of warnings.

I gather that corporations are very hesitant to tell the customer their
product is safer than the previous product for fear of being sued.

I have to deal with safety issues every day - or I did until I was FIRED for
being hard to work with. A valid termination to be sure. We had to teach new
hires about the potential issues with certain materials they used on the
production floor. It was very hard to do because the employees assembling and
testing the product (All versions of the Palm PDA) could not speak, read or
write English.

We were only allowed to create documents in English because if we create them
for Spanish speakers, we had to do it for the Russian, German and French
speakers as well. Imagine 500 or more procedures in a dozen or so languages?
Only 4% of the people there spoke English.

We had to assume and guess about what was legal or not. By that I mean what
were our responsibilities toward our workers? Did we have to tell people
about safety? We made it up as we went along. Remember, this discussion about
warnings should be extended to include the docs the production people need to
use as well.

Our mandate was to get the products out the door regardless of the poor
quality. RMA could deal with the bad products.

I agree that product users need to be warned, but we can't warn them against
making stupid decisions.

Just remember to get those checks cashed before a team of lawyers
representing a user takes them money away through a lawsuit.


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