Licensed Professional Engineers

Warning Cases (855) 627-6273

The hierarchy of design, an established, endorsed engineering design method, calls for any hazards in a design to be identified and eliminated from the design. For some products, this is impossible. These are products that are inherently dangerous, whose function is the source of the hazard. Examples include power saws, power presses, lawn mowers, and many others. The hierarchy of design calls for these types of products to be safeguarded to prevent the product user or bystanders from coming into contact with the product hazard.

Some attorneys like to base their products liability case on 'failure to warn'. This can be valid, but the more important question is whether a manufacturer eliminated the hazards where possible and then safeguarded remaining hazards. Exposure to some hazards may occur due to bypassing certain safety measures. This is not a failure to warn, but a failure to guard properly and account for human behavior. Failsafe interlocking must be used to prevent product users from overriding safety measures. MASE does mainly plaintiff work, and also defense cases where the hierarchy of design has been followed. We do not defend manufacturers who do not follow the hierarchy of design.

A failure to warn often is in addition to a failure to guard on the part of the manufacturer. Manufacturers may be held liable when they fail to communicate the hazard information to a product user. MASE has experience in analyzing product warnings. We also have experience designing effective warnings, and are versed in modern warning techniques that have increased effectiveness. Warnings can help reduce the chance of accidents by alerting the product user of hazards associated with the product, how to avoid the hazard, and consequences of not heeding the warning. The product user can learn from the product warnings how to avoid potential hazardous situations, if the warnings are designed and constructed properly.

The hierarchy of design states that warnings should only be used as the primary source of hazard protection if it is impossible to eliminate or guard against the hazard. There are potential situations where a hazard cannot be physically guarded and the less effective method of relying on product warnings must be used instead. That said, most hazards that result in accidents could have been prevented with proper guarding.

Failure to warn cases often revolve around whether or not the manufacturer met current industry standards for warnings. ANSI Z535.4, Product Safety Signs and Labels Standard, is one of the standards that warning labels should meet. MASE can determine if specific warning labels meet these minimum requirements.