Align note or a new domain with ISO and ANSI standards for hazard statements.
ISO and ANSI have updated and aligned their product labeling standards. Hazard statements should respect the harmonized definitions of DANGER, WARNING, and CAUTION.
To meet the ISO/ANSI standards for hazard statements, the type attribute of the note element should be added with the data types notice and warning.
In addition, a domain might developed following an extended approach to meet the ISO/ANSI standard. That domain might be a part of DITA 1.1 or at least part of the DITA OT.
End users would use the markup to create their own hazard statements.
Depending on the extent of standardization, the hazard statement formats, hazard types, hazard-specific graphics, and even certain statements could be standardized within a company owned specialization. Some predefined basic standardized items can be made available in the DITA distribution or in a separate repository as appropriate.
The minimum change is to touch up the attlist of the note element according to the mentioned example. But two more enhanced ISO/ANSI aligned variations should also be part of the discussion:
ATTLIST note type (note|tip|fastpath|restriction|important|remember|attention|notice|caution1|caution2|warning|danger|other)
ATTLIST note type (note|tip|fastpath|restriction|important|remember|attention|warning|danger|other|ansi_notice|ansi_caution1|ansi_caution2|ansi_warning|ansi_danger)
The more extensive changes would be a new domain.
Lucent and SeicoDyne are offering possible DTDs for such a domain.
As hazard statements are required in almost any industry, each of them will try or tried to implement some kind of hazard statement definition. Some of these companies (especially outside of the US) are not even aware of exsisting standards and smaller companies do have problems to get the right standard definitions. If the DITA standard follows this ISO/ANSI standard or offeres a sample domain, everyone can easily adapt the same rules.
The greatest advantage comes when the hazard statement formats are used to standardize hazard statements within a company. Safety experts place great emphasis on the role that properly-formulated hazard statements play in protecting end users of products from injury and protecting companies from liability.
The minimum change will not require much work.
Creating a new domain, including language referece, stylesheets etc. will require a bigger boundle of work depending on the extend of the implementation.