Applied Safety + Ergonomics


This paper examines the role of warnings in industrial settings. Considering warning signs and labels in an industrial setting involves an understanding of the context in which the warnings will be provided and received, and an understanding of norms regarding the roles of various parties in developing, communicating, and receiving that information. Proper consideration of these factors can reduce investigator errors in recommendations for providing warnings and errors in assessments of whether different warnings might have prevented an accident. In the context of a model of communication, this paper examines various aspects of industrial settings that may have an influence on the appropriateness of providing a warning. Topics discussed include the potential role of the employer in filtering, providing, and enforcing safety-related information, as well as considerations related to information overload. Norms for providing warnings in industrial settings are also addressed. Implications for warning recommendations and industrial accident investigation are discussed.

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