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  • #14843
    Johann Schuster

    I’m currently trying to split up the severity evaluation catalogue of a product FMEA according to functional and legal requirements. For the legal requirements, only two points remain:

    noncompliance with goverment regulation without warning [10]
    noncompliance with goverment regulation with warning [9]

    My question is: What does ‚warning‘ mean here? In the safety context it is clear what a warning should be (i.e. driver shall be warned), but in the legal context it’s not so clear (at least not to me). I would like to strictly distinguish between 9 and 10.

    Maybe you can share your thoughts. Thank you in advance.

    Jürgen Eilers

    I am not a lawyer but if you first make a difference S=10 = without warning and S=9 = with warning and then think about the technical and legal aspect.
    This would mean that the product will be unsafe or not legal and both numbers could be choosen (S=10 or S=9).

    From my viewpoint S=9 has to be chosen when the driver or engineer will be aware of the problem but has the chance to make the decision to accept for the moment the situation and use / operate an unsafe or illegal product.

    I am only wondering what kind of implications this has from the design engineer’s viewpoint.

    Example: Emissions are above the legal limit when accelerating very rapidly. Design engineer knows that this will happen systematically when using fuel with bad quality. There is the possibility to detect the bad fuel quality during operation and there is also the possibility to detect that only with a reduced acceleration in combination with the bad fuel the system will be still legal.
    Not legal without warning: The user has no idea that bad fuel quality is in use. The user has no information that he should not accelerate very fast because the emissions would be illegal.
    Not legal with warning: The user gets information about the bad fuel quality and in addition will be informed that fast accelerations will lead to illegal emissions.

    Another thought: Courts should punish somebody more severe if he acts illegal “with warning” then “without warning”. Not knowing may be better in this situation.

    I can think about several failures where I assume that “not legal with warning” can be used:
    – Self test on motor start detects defect headlights (at daylight); what kind of confirmation of the driver is required?
    – Insufficient tread depth of tires which would be signaled to the driver
    – Seat belt not working / in use with warning signal
    – Driving at high speed with activated rear fog lamp; BTW even if not legal at the moment in Germany no warning signal is active in some cars.

    Of course some of these examples will lead to the question if the driver will be allowed to take the responsibility to act illegal with warning and what kind of advantages / disadvantages the design engineer has to take into account.


    Good thoughts Mr. Eilers.

    But please think about that the AIAG catalogue ist only a example (p37) and a help for your own cataloque („suggested criteria“). AIAG itself write, that the team schould agree on evaluation criteria, …

    In the most FMEA severity catalogues I see the hurting of legal requirements as S=9 sometimes even S=8.

    Johann Schuster

    Dear Mr. Werdich,

    I don’t fully agree with your statement that you can leave it up completely to the team. When citing AIAG 4th (p. 37) one shall also consider the following note (middle of the page): „It is not recommended to modify criteria ranking values of 9 and 10…“. So, if I was an auditor, I would always ask why regulatory problems are ranked by 8 or below, because this violates the AIAG recommendation.

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