Welcome to TechWhirl Forums

Sign in or Register to get involved in our discussions.

Must warnings in manuals duplicate equipment warning stickers?

I'm confronting multiple issues with warnings/cautions in operator manuals, hoping for feedback and advice from the community.

Old-hand tech writer here, but relatively new to manuals for industrial equipment. Previous manuals (produced in-house, of varying quality) exactly duplicated the warning labels placed on equipment -- color, size, layout -- on the manual pages. Many were included repeatedly, each time a topic was discussed in the manual, throughout every chapter.

They are big, ugly, redundant, and interrupt all flow in the manual. I certainly understand having warnings, but when they are reproduced like labels throughout every chapter, everything else is pushed into the background.

I'm considering the following:
  • Using a smaller format -- not reproducing the equipment labels graphically. 
  • Grouping warnings at the start, perhaps on the left-hand page, of each chapter, rather than sprinkled throughout the chapter pages.
  • Hyperlinks/xrefs to all warnings in one place at front of manual, rather than printing the full warning label every time.
On the other hand:
  • Most (all?) manuals do the same thing -- warning-sticker graphics throughout.
  • Is this required by law or standards organizations?
  • Nobody cares about the aesthetics of an industrial operators manual (but we know layout can help or hurt usefulness)
Thank you for any comments.


  • bvconwaybvconway CanadaPosts: 1
    I just finished a manual for medical equipment (for FDA approval) that had Warnings sprinkled liberally throughout - as well as listed at front of the manual. But, they did not duplicate any labels on the equipment itself.

    They were still big-ish, ugly, redundant, but perhaps necessary to immunize the company against possible lawsuits. I simply put them inside rounded rectangles - black outlined - with the word WARNING in red-bold and the warning itself again in black text below.

    I'd just list and hyperlink them at the front of the manual and repeat them throughout as you have done, and not worry too much about it.
  • jayman6366jayman6366 United StatesPosts: 2
    I write aircraft maintenance manuals where Warnings and Cautions are done to the max. It all comes back to who gets blamed when something gets messed up or somebody gets hurt or worse. The manual and the writer have to cover their butts.
    I think Warnings are meant to disrupt the manual flow. They should scream to the reader, "DON'T DO THAT OR IT'S GOING TO GET UGLY!"

    Just my opinion.
  • pbennettpbennett Posts: 1
    We use symbols that are internationally recognized. Not what is necessarily on the machine. I group them together at the beginning of the manual. However, if I'm describing a particularly dangerous procedure, the warning signs will be in that text.
Sign In or Register to comment.