Warning Notices in ST4

Published: 2023-03-08 Updated: 2023-11-16
Subject: CCMS

“Is everything SAFE at your end too?” Many technical writing departments work according to the SAFE principle. It is a recommendation for the design of warning notices based on the ANSI Z535.x and the DIN EN ISO 12100 standards and it defines their structure. A signal word (S) is followed by a description of the archetype (A) of the hazard and the final consequences (F) the hazard may have. The warning is followed up with measures to escape (E) the risk, that is, what should be done to eliminate the risk.

It makes the paperwork easier as the same structure is always used and helps readers to quickly identify risks. However, despite these standards in the day-to-day work of technical writers, it is not always easy to keep the different warnings consistent. One technical writer may describe the type of hazard as a “laser”, while their colleague may describe it as a “laser beam”. When describing the appropriate escape method, “Leave the area of the laser” as well as “Do not enter the laser area” can be found. Such inconsistencies cause unnecessary translation costs and, in the worst case, can even result in liability risks.


SCHEMA ST4 Standardizes Warnings

SCHEMA ST4 helps to avoid these inconsistencies. Adding warnings is supported by the function “Add warning”, which is structured according to the SAFE principle. You choose a signal word and the type of hazard and your content already contains the appropriate warning which then must be supplemented by your description of the hazard type and how to escape the hazard. With structure fragments, you can enter any modules for “Escape”. Once defined, the same text can be used again and again. Tedious copy & pasting is eliminated. You can make changes centrally and automatically apply these to all publications.

Of course, SCHEMA ST4 also manages the warning symbols, which respectively belong to different types of warnings. Warnings, signal words, and symbols are stored according to the specific language so that the different national requirements are met. ST4 is supplied with standard texts for the most common symbols of hazard types (“laser”, “heat”, “crushing hazard”) and the hazard levels (“warning”, “caution”, “danger”, “notice”) prescribed by standards in the warning wizard.

SCHEMA ST4 Customizes Warnings

If that sounds good to you… it is. But if you are now wondering whether this is not too rigid for your needs, then allow us to reassure you. Of course you can add your own hazard types and levels, or even change existing ones. This can all be easily adopted in the wizard. When formulating warnings, you have complete freedom and can adapt them precisely to the needs of your sector and your company.

You are free to decide how you want to present the warning: warnings for an extensive maintenance manual must look different to warnings in a short brochure. Such differences can be defined for each possible output format. You only define these differences once in the layout template you have created and can then reuse this design in any publication of the same kind.

However, not only can you change the design of the warning, but you can also tailor it to the requirements of different media. It doesn’t matter whether the warning will be published in a print document, PDF, website, mobile application, or augmented reality application. You can define the appearance and behavior of warnings for any media format within the layout templates that you have created in SCHEMA ST4. By the way, both modules – PLD and OMD – are already included in the basic version of SCHEMA ST4, just like the warning wizard.

Warnings are a core element of every manual. They require special care and can cause a great deal of work. With SCHEMA ST4, you provide clarity when creating and managing your warnings, thereby ensuring lean and legally compliant content.