'Misuse' is the negative of 'use', or as Mike correctly made a suggestion:

"We emphasized how to use our equipment correctly, and what the scope of its applications were."

The better you describe the positive, the easier it is to define the negative.

I have seen  many operating manuals (such  as garden equipment) even lacking the 'positive' ie the "intentional use" of equipment. How to define any misuse in such a case ?


In the standardization world 3 descriptions are used

 * Intended use - a decent description of this will automatically
   define all misuses, as not addressed in the intended use description
 * Foreseeable (mis)use
 * Unforeseeable (mis)use

The foreseeable category is the one the manufacturer shall be concerned with. Some equipment that is able to cut grass, can be foreseeably be misused in many cutting applications it was not meant for. The cutting can be applied to not suitable materials, the lawn mower may be misused to attack a meadow, or your dogs long hair. (not even suggesting your wife's hair😁). A risk analysis (risk = chance*severeness*avoid-ability) may help in ranking misuses and the manufacture shall define the 3 risk thresholds were 'physical measures' (annihilating the danger) are needed or "warning on the equipment" or just  "warnings in the manual"  may do in mitigating the hazard. Some standards have specific requirements on these. Risk analysis shall include as many parties as the manufacturer can contact, such as engineers, production workers, customers, laymen and others that can get in contact with your product. Do not only consider the operating state, but also transport, repair work, storage, loss of coordination between manual, product and software version (button changed color), or even batch or serial numbering.  No risk shall be considered to be too small not to be included in the analysis. The difference is in how the risks are addressed. This will avoid having a too extensive safety warning section, and at the same time the requirements of any auditor.

Just my 2 cents.

Gert Gremmen

On 5-10-2022 20:01, Brian Kunde wrote:
My company manufactures Laboratory Equipment such as analyzers and determinators. They are highly specialized equipment, yet have an infinite range of uses.

Even though all known residual risks are documented in the Safety Warning section of the manual, they will commonly request a list of Misuses.  There are no buttons, or settings that can be changed by the User that can cause a hazard.  The operational environment is clearly defined. So in most all cases, I am not aware of any "Misuse" that can cause a hazard. For some reason, this answer is not acceptable.  We are expected to come up with something.

Is there a standard or common list of MisUses that seem to satisfy this requirement?

How crazy are we to get with this?, e.g., don't use the 400lb analyzer while taking a bath?  Don't use it to mow your lawn?  Common!!!!

I used to work for a computer company and I couldn't believe the stupid warnings we had to put in the manual.

Thanks to all.

The Other Brian
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