1983-09-12

Engineering Considerations on Litigation Avoidance 831395

It is generally understood that engineers can do some things to help prevent product liability lawsuits. However, it is not so well understood that very likely the best way to prevent lawsuits is at the engineering stage.
This paper reviews conventional activities of that type and describes a general philosophy that if the engineer works to prevent the accident, he will be making the most effective contribution.
In addition, the paper presents a new viewpoint concerning “trade-offs” between safety and product effectiveness. The paper suggests that trade-offs are not even appropriate things to consider, but that the engineering effort must be to raise product effectiveness and safety -- both -- to successfully higher levels. The tension, for example, between cost and safety will never disappear. The engineer's response must be to raise the level of safety without increasing product cost and reducing product cost without sacrificing safety. That is the real engineering objective.

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