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The Importance of Product Safety

When working in industrial design, safety is one of the most important factors to consider. It’s critical that a product be safe to use before it is released. However, the average person may not understand the process a product needs to go through to ensure that they are safe enough for release.
So how do we ensure our products are safe?

Understanding our consumers

Once we have a product design concept, our first step is to understand the consumer. Who will be using our product and how will they be using it?
Voice of the customer (or VOC) is a type of market research used to measure the target market’s expectations, preferences and aversions in relation to a product. Understanding how consumers view and consider existing products in our market can help to shape our products into something that meets the wants and needs of the consumer. It can also highlight safety concerns consumers have about the product.

Design frameworks

With an understanding of our market, we can move on to developing the product. At this stage, design frameworks need to be considered. These frameworks are a structured way to consider the safety of a product, ensure that standards have been met, and allow others to see the process we have gone through to ensure that the product is safe.

HB 295 – Product Safety Framework Set

This series of Product Safety Frameworks is designed to ensure safe supply, sale and use of products. It addresses the sources of risk associated with products, and establishes ways to identify and manage such risks.
The checklist based system was published in 2008 by Standards Australia, and they intend to expand on it in the future with more specific product guidelines.
More information about HB 295 can be found here.

Failure Mode Effect Criticality Analysis (FMECA)

FMECA is a process which aims to identify the ways a product may fail, the source of the failure, and the probability and severity of the failure. The process involves testing products to a limit beyond their expected usage, allowing leeway for the product to be misused, but still remain safe.
Here at Bayly, we use an FMECA that is derived from the requirements of the IEC 60812 standard, but we have the ability to adapt this process to match other standards, for example those used in military, medical, and automotive industries.

Communicating to the consumer

Once we know our product has been tested for safety, we need to make sure that all the relevant safety information is communicated to the consumer.
Instructions should be provided that details the correct and safe use of the product. Always consider the user when writing instructions, and never assume that they know as much about the product as we do.
When designing safety warnings, certain standards must be followed, and these can be different depending on what the product is.

Pictograms are often the best way to design warnings, as they cut through language and reading barriers. After designing warnings, always test them thoroughly with consumers, to ensure that the warnings are clearly displayed and easily understood.

Products should always be safe, and no harm should come to the consumer from using them. By using detailed processes like this, we can ensure that our products are tested to the best of our abilities, meet all standards and expectations and that our consumers are as safe as possible when using our products.
If you have any questions about product safety, our process, or what we can do to help your product, contact our Product Design team in Melbourne on +613 9413 9000 or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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