Getting People to Read Cautions in Owner’s Manuals

When people buy potentially dangerous products, I imagine that the majority do not actually read the owner’s manual.

Why?  Because so much of it is common sense that applies to all like products; for example, when I bought a new circular saw, the owner’s manual told me things like not to immerse it in water or there is a risk of electrical shock.  That’s good advice, but I propose the following: all “like” products (for example, all electrical products or all guns or all gas-powered products) should have a common set of basic precautions and directions that apply to all; these should be set apart from the product-particular cautions and directions, and labeled as such “Common Cautions on All Electrical Products” and “Cautions on This Particular Product”.  Students in high school should have to study the Common Cautions and take tests on it, maybe 3 or 4 times in high school.

That way when we bought a potentially dangerous product, we could easily open the manual and find the cautions we really needed.  If we felt the need to review the Common Cautions, they would be there for us.

I don’t know whether government action (mandates) would be needed to make this happen; perhaps industries and government could work together to accomplish this.

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~ by paulnew on May 9, 2012.

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