Why are warning labels important?

You see them so often on the products you use that you hardly recognize them anymore. The orange labels with the word, “WARNING” in large, bolded letters. Federal regulation, yes, but are they really necessary?

The reality is, warning labels provide information to consumers that can protect them from danger. Your decision to observe such instructions may not only optimize your use of a product but keep you safe too.

Prevent improper use

Using some products for a purpose other than what manufacturers intend may increase your risks of injury. For example, a novelty pool float toy will contain a warning label that reminds you it is not to take the place of a lifejacket. Taking your device out on a lake and relying on it to keep you afloat without taking other precautions can increase your risk of drowning.

In conjunction with a warning label, make sure you understand how a product works so you can use it the right way. If you notice defects that prevent you from safely using it, USA.gov suggests immediately reporting your concerns to the product manufacturer and applicable government agencies.

Prevent hazardous interference

Another reason for warning labels is to protect you from hazardous interference. For example, many hairsprays contain ingredients that can combust when the canister comes in contact with heat. Electronics can electrocute you if they come in contact with water. Knowing how to properly store various products can protect you from harmful situations.

Warning labels should contain bolded lettering, concise information and graphics as needed. Manufacturers should display labels in places where you can immediately recognize them. If you suffer injuries because of inadequate warning labels, the manufacturer should take accountability. Achieving this outcome may require you to take legal action.

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