There Are So Many Ways Machines Can Hurt You… And There Are Warning Stickers For Them All

from the beware-of-warning-sticker dept

What would you do if you found yourself at the LA Convention Center in the middle of WESTEC — a trade show for machine manufacturers? Well, if you’re my friend Jean from Notcot, you would go around and take a ton of pictures of the warning labels found on a bunch of the machines.

There’s something oddly fascinating about all of these. I’ve included some more below, but there are a lot more in the original post. It’s like a virtual museum of warning labels. Of course, it makes you wonder (or, maybe it just makes me wonder) who designs the warning labels, and how they settle in on the graphic choices. Similarly, figuring out exactly what you warn about could be a challenge. I like the one that says you have to wear goggles just to observe this machine. I suddenly have the urge to put warning labels on all my gadgets.

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Comments on “There Are So Many Ways Machines Can Hurt You… And There Are Warning Stickers For Them All”

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Rekrul says:

First image left: Put wrench in book.

First image right: May cause hands to burst into flames.

Second image: Do not attempt to bend bar up while machine is running.

Fourth image: Do not attempt to balance broken arrows on nose.

Fifth image: Machine is not to be operated by disembodied hands.

Sixth image: No dancing.

Seventh image: No humping the machine by one-legged people.

Ninth image: 1. This machine fires spears. 2. Don not listen to radio. 3. Kidnap a duck.

Tenth image: Do not Scotch Tape hand to machine.

Valkor (profile) says:

Stick figures in peril

I love this sort of thing. It reminds me of an old website called “Stick Figures in Peril”. It looks like it’s now a flickr pool, but still funny.
My always and forever favorite warning sign cautions against a) falling into the giant saw or b) getting bits of the first guy flung at you:

No, these never get old.

James says:

You wouldn’t laugh if you had ever seen a lathe eat a finger. Part of the reason that the stick figures are so comical is that these things are supposed to get your attention and make you think. Humor does that, for some reason I’m not sure anyone understands. Every little bit saved on workers comp tort lawsuits is a potential bonus for the label designers.

illuminaut says:

Re: Re:

nobody ever changes their behavior based on what they see on warning labels. by the time someone uses a certain piece of machinery, they either have already been told about the dangers or they’ve made up their mind. the only reason the labels are there are for liability reasons, so if someone does something stupid the manufacturer can say ‘but we warned them’.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Glad to hear your well-informed viewpoint that nobody ever reads warning labels when operating large/dangerous pieces of machinery.

I should hope that before being asked to use dangerous equipment an employee is given training from another source, but I’ve seen situations where that’s not the case.

And yes, I read warning labels – sometimes for the laugh, sometimes to avoid serious injuries.

Chargone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

there are plenty of people dim enough not to, sadly.

the Smart people read them on unusual/particularly hazardous looking stuff…

i don’t think Anyone reads the ones on common household goods, really. (or if they do they’re like my Grandmother, who’s ability to use tech and not freak out about it stops and ‘plug in fridge, set temp dial.’ or ‘plug in TV to power and antenna socket. if reception is problematic, call son to come fix’.

and even she would probably be more like ‘ooh, lots of warning lables… humm, let’s NOT get that one…’

so… yeah. i wouldn’t say they’re Useless, but i’d easily believe that the main purpose of them is liability rather than any active desire to not mangle people with the machines 🙂

Mr Big Content says:

Please Take This Posting Down

You?re posting a virtual how-to recipe book of industrial terrorism here. This kind of irresponsibility cannot be tolerated.

The guy who took the photographs should have been locked up. I wonder what kind of lax security they had at the convention?

This needs to be reported to the DHS.

pr (profile) says:


The folly of trying to make anything foolproof, since fools are so clever. But not, apparently, clever enough to learn to read, since warnings now have to be in pictures.

Seriously, one can only absorb so much information. Silly warning lables warning of improbable or obvious danger crowds out real warnings that users need to be made aware of. You ever read your ladder? I gave up and went back to something easier and less depressing, like Moby Dick.

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