Mistake-Proofing Resource Center

Keeping Mistake-Proofing Solutions from Being Overridden

Like any tool, sometimes even a mistake-proofing solution itself may not be mistake-proofed and may be able to be overridden.

With sensory alert solutions, for the solution to work, the operator must respond to the trigger or signal. If the solution (or in the case of sensory alerts, the trigger) is not robust, it can be ignored or disabled. And, in rare cases, be subject to malicious intent.

To keep the trigger from being ignored:

  • Make sure you are mistake-proofing the root cause.
  • Try to find a solution that leads to mistake-prevention before settling for mistake-detection.
  • Make the alert so obvious it is impossible to miss.

There are four classes of reasons why a device may be disabled.


  • The device might be made of the wrong materials, perhaps a PM schedule was never initiated, or maybe the calibration schedule is incorrect.

Poor Design

  • If the mistake-proofing solution is difficult to use, if it requires frequent adjustments, or even if it just gets in the way and conflicts with the standard machinery, it may be susceptible to being disabled.

Inadequate Training

  • If operators are not trained in the WHY as well as the HOW of a mistake-proofing solution, it may not get used.

Malicious Intent

  • This happens when someone wants to make the process or product fail and sabotages the mistake-proofing solution.