We should have a risk assessment of our documents.
Seriously…what if we put 𝙨𝙝𝙖𝙡𝙡 and 𝙨𝙝𝙤𝙪𝙡𝙙 in our documents? It’s risky.
Some people argue that if that’s how it’s written in the standards or the regulations, that’s what we 𝙨𝙝𝙤𝙪𝙡𝙙 (have to? good idea? who knows, right?) do too. Okay, maybe …BUT….big BUT here…they also usually define those terms in the standards and regulations.
Why do we think we have to write our procedures quoting verbatim from the regulations or standards? Those things aren’t typically written with easy reading in mind. Don’t you want the people using your documents to be able to read them?
If you want to use ambiguous words, go for it, but make sure you define them so everyone interprets them the same way. (And, you’re making a big assumption that people pick up an SOP, have a leisurely read of all the definitions and terms, and then go on to follow the procedure…ummm…no..not likely)
The fact that these words often show up in court is probably a good sign that there’s room for argument. Let’s not leave room. Let’s get rid of anything that could potentially cause confusion.
Isn’t it simpler to say what you mean?
There are quite a lot of no-no words, that we are better off avoiding in our documents – either because they’re vague (i.e. lack clarity) or because they’re ambiguous (i.e. have more than one possible meaning)?
Here are some examples: