A-Z Popular Blog Quality Search »
Reliability Engineering
Related Guides
Related Topics
Cost Of Quality

Product Design

20 Examples of Mistake Proofing

 , updated on
Mistake proofing is a design or process that is intended to reduce human error. The following are illustrative examples.


An airborne collision avoidance system that makes automated maneuvers to attempt to avoid an imminent mid-air collision.

Color Coding

Color coding things so that they aren't easily mistaken. For example, pipes at a factory may be color coded so that maintenance teams don't confuse a water pipe with a pipe that contains something more dangerous.

Visual Cues

Visual symbols such wrong-way signs.


Pill boxes that allow a patient to organize their pills by day and time so that they don't accidentally take too many.

Exact Locations

Creating an exact location for items so that they can't be misplaced. Aircraft maintenance teams store tools in exact locations to make it highly visible if a tool was left behind in an engine.


Systems such as asking customers to take a number so that you don't accidentally serve people out of turn.

Automatic Stop

Devices that automatically stop such as a microwave that stops when you open the door.


A car that beeps if you try to drive without your seat belt fastened.

Operational Restrictions

A car that refuses to hit things. For example, a car that won't go in reverse if a child runs behind the vehicle.


A stock trading system that forces a user to confirm if they enter a price that is too far from the current market price. In some cases, such systems will refuse orders that are too far from market. This prevents situations such as the customer entering the quantity as price and vice versa.


A battery for a device that physically can't be inserted any way but the correct way.


Furniture that is designed such that there is no possible way to put it together wrong.


Assembly instructions may be arranged such that each subsequent step can not start if the previous step was done incorrectly.

Active Operation

A machine or vehicle that requires the operator to actively hold down a pedal or clutch for it to run.


Routines such as physically pointing where you are looking during an inspection. Known to help prevent oversights.


Maintenance procedures based on task checklists that are checked as they are completed, not at the end as an afterthought.


A car that tells the driver when the road becomes slippery.

Actionable Warnings

Actionable warnings that tell a person exactly how to avoid a mistake. For example an aircraft might strongly warn "go up" repeatedly if an aircraft lacks clearance over upcoming terrain.

Multisensory warnings

Sounds, visual symbols and tactile warnings used together to ensure that they are noticed. For example, a car may warn with beeps and visual symbols when it drifts out of its lane. At the same time, tactile warnings on the road itself such as a centerline rumble strip may send vibrations through the vehicle.


Ordering things so that mistakes are less likely. A bank machine may give the customer the receipt first, then the bank card, then the cash. This is done because it's unlikely the customer will forget the cash but is generally more likely to forget a receipt or bank card.
Overview: Mistake Proofing
Human Error
Safety By Design
A design, system or process that is intended to reduce human error
Related Concepts

Reliability Engineering

This is the complete list of articles we have written about reliability engineering.
Cold Standby
Defensive Design
Design Debt
Design Life
Error Tolerance
Fault Tolerance
Graceful Degradation
Latent Error
Material Strength
Mistake Proofing
Wear And Tear
More ...
If you enjoyed this page, please consider bookmarking Simplicable.

Types of Quality

A list of quality types.

Quality vs Value

The subtle difference between quality and value.

Quality Metrics

The common types of quality metrics.

Service Quality

The primary types of service quality.

Experience Quality

The common types of experience quality.

Critical To Customer

A definition of critical to customer with examples.

Design Life

An overview of design life with examples.

Planned Obsolescence

The common types of planned obsolescence.

Quality Objectives

The definition of quality objectives with examples.

Credence Quality

A definition of credence quality.

Active vs Passive

The difference between active and passive safety.

Defensive Design

An overview of defensive design.

Self-Destruct Mechanism

An overview of self-destruct mechanisms as a safety feature.

Tactile Information

The common types of tactile information.

Flight Envelope Protection

An overview of flight envelope protection.

Earthquake Detection System

An overview of earthquake detection systems.


The definition of hazard with examples.

Product Safety

Common types of product safety.

Err On The Side Of Caution

The definition of err on the side of caution with examples.
The most popular articles on Simplicable in the past day.

New Articles

Recent posts or updates on Simplicable.
Site Map