Friday, January 10, 2014

A label with four very specific assembly warnings

We received a box with the warning label shown above slapped on the outside. What made this product so dangerous during assembly?

It’s a 24” wide wooden wall rack with four Shaker pegs. Once it is installed it’s not very hazardous. 

The small parts that could cause choking were the two wood plugs for the screw holes. Those small parts with both sharp points and sharp edges were just a pair of drywall screws for mounting it on the wall.   

But, it came wrapped in a plastic bag and a 1/4” thick, 28” wide by 48” long piece of white foam plastic sheet. They didn’t warn that if you held that foam in front of your face you wouldn’t be able to see where you were going, and might slip, trip, and fall. (Also, if you wrapped a small child up in that sheet, it wouldn’t be safe to roll him down the stairs). 

The separate warnings for sharp points and edges are Too Much Information. They reminded me of an old Sidney Harris cartoon showing the side of a road with two adjacent, geologically specific warning signs that read:


1/4 MILE

In a housing development south of Boise I saw the signs shown above. I’ve seen signs with just diagonal red and white stripes at the end of roads before. Presumably there is some “Failure to Warn” case law that led then to also add the SIDEWALK ENDS words on a separate sign.

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