Product Liability

Article

Farrow, John   (1991, ASQC)   Mechanical Engineering Department, Milwaukee School of Engineering

Annual Quality Congress, Milwaukee WI    Vol. 45    No. 0
QICID: 9605    May 1991    pp. 51-56
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Article Abstract

This abstract is an edited version of the authors' original.

As the Quality Revolution continues, the quality function becomes more distributed, requiring a coherent, cohesive thrust to the movement. As we stress individual empowerment, the legal system requires more paperwork and control. A tool for meeting these requirements and their conflicts is the quality audit.

A quality audit program affords a way to promote empowerment and individual responsibility while affording the control to keep the system effective. Quality audits put systems and procedures in place that prevent incidents from occurring and furnish proof of quality system performance, which minimizes potential liability loss.

An adequate quality audit program focuses on defects in design and implementation, inadequate warnings, improper claims, failure to anticipate misuse, improper material, assembly errors, inadequate testing, and failure to take corrective action. Safety devices, which are important to the product, should not be offered as optional features.The main benefits of a quality audit program include: (1) minimizing failures or incidents involving legal action; (2) providing a clear defense against punitive damages; (3) requiring the training and records to support the company's defense in actions involving warranty, fraud or strict liability in tort; and (4) providing assurance that the company has a strong position that might influence lower liability premiums.

Keywords

Design,Empowerment,Legal actions,Product liability,Quality audit,Quality Control Department,Safety,Defects


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