Re: Re. Warnings...

Subject: Re: Re. Warnings...
From: Nancy Hayes <nancyh -at- PMAFIRE -dot- INEL -dot- GOV>
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 1996 22:47:29 GMT

In article <9601031936 -dot- AA10205 -at- btrd -dot- bostech -dot- com>, <rjl -at- bostech -dot- com> wrote:
>Nora Merhar suggested that all admonitions be called "notes" and then leave it
>up to the reader to determine which involve safety hazards.

>I think that in the lawyer-ridden USA, corporate legal departments would have
>a cow at that thought.

It isn't just the lawyers, either. At least for writing procedures, it's
good human factors to have warnings, cautions, and notes as separate
items. Notes are FYI, warnings deal with injury to people, and cautions
deal with damage to equipment. It's easy to see at a glance what type of
information you're dealig with. In fact, having a warning or caution
statement in a note is one of the major thou-shalt-nots in procedure
writing. It's too likely someone will skim the note and miss essential
information.

[snip]

RE: Fire hazard warning on the magic marker

ROTFLMHO. Seriously, it's too true to be funny, but I think that
this is probably the stupidist thing I've ever heard. The stupidist
thing I've ever seen is the fanny slappers that we have to have at
the top of stairs here at the chem plant. It's an OSHA(?)
requirement to have these stupid things in place so someone can't
back down a flight of stairs. The reason they're called fanny
slappers is that if you don't catch them on the way through, they
slap you (and knock you off balance so you stumble down the steps).

>An issue that's rarely been considered on this list (or, so far as I know,
>by the STC) is the adverse impact on usability as a result of all these
>hazard warnings.

Actually, I =think= the conduct of operations DOE Order (5480.19) has
some information on this. Some of the procedure guides I've seen also
discuss this--mostly that use of warnings and cautions should be limited
and that warnings and cautions should have a different format from
notes. I know one of the major things we have to worry about is not
imbedding a step or requirement in a caution or warning. Cautions and
warnings are also written as cause-effect statements.

Nancy Lynn Hayes nancyh -at- pmafire -dot- inel -dot- gov OV - NHAYES


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