Re: Safety & Tech Manuals.

Subject: Re: Safety & Tech Manuals.
From: Ian White <Ian -at- IFWTECH -dot- DEMON -dot- CO -dot- UK>
Date: Wed, 11 Jan 1995 15:16:25 +0000

In article: <9501091543 -dot- A14699 -at- pcmail -dot- cti-pet -dot- com> Karla McMaster
<mcmaster%pcmail -dot- cti-pet -dot- com -at- cti-pet -dot- com> writes:

> Rick Lippincott asked about creeping "warningism," where almost every page of
> the documentation (hardware or software) is covered with warnings and

> > Is this becoming common? Is there anything we can do about it? And, is it
> > creeping into software documentation as well?

> I'm seeing a beginning of that trend, here, in both our hardware and software
> documentation. That's because we make a medical scanning device (similar to
> but a different technology), and the FDA is on our case. As with every semi-
> bureaucratic office, our safety people err on the side of cautiousness, and
> manuals are becoming increasingly filled with warnings, though not to the
> of making the manuals unreadable, I think.

As I understand it, there is at least an informal heirarchy of terms
for safety notices in user manuals, something like:

CAUTION This could produce unwanted results, or damage data or equipment

WARNING This could cause personal injury (or do severe damage to data
or equipment?)
DANGER This could kill a human being or cause serious injury.

My HP printer manual agrees on CAUTION, but restricts WARNING to "serious
personal injury".

Are there any formal definitions in the USA or in other countries?

Ian White | IFW Technical Services, Abingdon, England
| Clear English for high-technology companies
ian -at- ifwtech -dot- demon -dot- co -dot- uk | Tel/fax (0 / +44) 1235 535981

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