Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Product liability

Product liability is something that is important for all companies to be aware of especially in the use phase of the product. If a defective product leads to an injury of a customer this could have huge effects not only on the engineer but the company itself. Engineers have the responsibility to make sure that this product is used the right way.  This is important that the design of the product can’t harm and the safety and wellbeing of the customer comes first. Companies need to make sure that it is something that is user friendly yet at the same tie has limited to no risks. Engineers in the entire process of design need to make sure that this is in mind at all time. If the product can cause harm to the customer then it needs to have a label attached to it. This not only prevents the company of being sued but also makes the customer aware of what the use of the product is and the dangers that could come with the use of the product.
One example that comes to mind is there was a man that was trapped in a telephone booth. The man got hit by a car by a drunk driver. This man ended up suing the telephone company because he had no way of getting out before the driver hit him. This design flaw in the telephone booth this failure in design caused the man to be hit by the driver. The man had the right to sue him. The company ended up losing the case because multiple people had trouble with the ability to open the door. The failure by the company in keeping the customer in mind cost them. This inaction by the company shows a great example of product liability.  Sewing  companies has been a cause of discussion in the past. I feel that if someone was harmed by the actions of someone else it seems that they have the right to be sued. Product liability is something that is not only important for the company to be sure to be aware of. It is important to make sure that the customer’s interest is top priority not only in quality but in safety.

Product Liability Blog

Product Liability Blog
Product Liability has become an issue within the past two decades. The reason for an increase in product liability cases is because the government is holding companies responsible for their products they produce to the public. Before companies were not held to the standards they are now and therefore product liability is a concept. It is very important that companies produce products that are safe for not only humans-beings but for the environment as well. People have been known to take advantage of product liability in courts. There have been countless court cases that can arguably be a ridiculous claim of people spilling on themselves and people using the product incorrectly and getting hurt. The example I have chosen to write about is a defect dryer that that causes a deadly fire. In 2006 there were 17,700 home fires involving dryers and/or washing machines. (92% Dryers). Everyone knows that when you own a dryer and operate a dryer it is imperative to empty the lint bin. In this case the dryer was collecting lint in a area that the consumer could not see it nor clean it. Studies show that the 1/10 of a gram of lint coming into contact with the heating coils ignited the fire. This is the importance of Product liability. Clearly, this is a defected consumer product effecting thousands of people. There were 15 deaths and 360 injuries. The process of product liability cases enhances safety.
Tort reform is needed still but there is no question that companies will make decisions with their pocket book rather than the consumer in mind. The Ford Pinto in the 1970s was issued a recall because there we incidents of fires starting. The recall would have cost Ford Motors more than to pay the liability suite. Therefore Ford paid the Liability claims and did not recall the Pinto. This is a classic example of why Product liability is imperative to the consumers benefit.

Product Liability

According to Dr. Donna C.S. Summers book “Quality Fifth Edition”, product liability is the obligation of a company to make restitution for loss related to personal injury, property damage, or other harm caused by its product or service.  Because it is ideal but extremely difficult to create a product that is perfectly safe and can do no objectionable harm at any time under any circumstances we have product liability.

Because this is so difficult a lot has to be done during the design and manufacture of a product in order to provide the customer with the safest product or service possible.  In order to avoid making a dangerous product, designers should consider the usefulness and desirability of their product.  Once this has been done and it is determined that the product has value for the consumer, Dr. Summers has a plan for the design and development of the product.  The six steps are as follows: design to remove unsafe aspects, guard against unsafe use, provide product warnings and instructions, design to standards, conduct design reviews, advertise and market wisely.  If these steps are followed properly a product liability suit can be avoided.


Should Farmers Market Vendors Carry Product Liability Insurance?

I recently read and article about product liability at a farmers market. The article debates whether or not it would be beneficial to require the vendors at a farmers market to carry product liability insurance.  The initial thought would be that it would be beneficial for them to carry it just in case a customer gets sick because of one of their products. At a second glance, these local farmers are growing on almost no land, and generally barely make any money at all; so requiring them to add another bill to their payments could possibly cause them to drop out of the market and not do business there.  The farmers market manager would be the one who could require the farmers to have this liability insurance. 

I for one, do not think that they should require this.  I have been to many farmers markets before, and have never heard of anyone getting sick because of some bad produce that came from there.  Generally these farmers do not use any of the commercial pesticides or any of that.  It is locally grown, and usually organic.  Overall, I think that product liability is indeed necessary in some instances, but a farmers market probably isn't one of them.  But, that is just my opinion.  I trust the farmers there and even if I do get sick, it generally isn't life threatening.