It seems that as western society becomes more risk averse (not sure if this is true, will need to find evidence), consumers are becoming increasingly advised ‘NOT’ to maintain there own possessions. I found the following section in an owners manual for bicycles published by Raleigh America and supplied with new bicycles.
The warnings given are unequivocal, informing the consumer that ‘serious injury or death’ may come as a consequence of attempting to look after your bicycle! This may be genuine advice, but it may also be a means of avoiding litigation should someone injure themselves from using a badly maintained machine. It used to be common for owners to service their own vehicles, but increasingly it seems the advice given by manufacturers is to pay someone to do the work for you. This could have significant consequences in that owners may neglect maintenance due to the inconvenience or cost. This in turn could mean that some devices may become dangerous, inefficient or suffer from a reduced lifespan.
Perhaps a way forward for this work would be to consider a means of providing good advice and information to encourage consumer maintenance.
It is not at all unusual to see examples of the following labels on consumer goods. It is certain that, with electrical products, that there is some risk associated with opening the product, however there must be ways in which the design of the product can go some way to protecting the user when engaging in maintenance or servicing.
Designing products to allow ‘user servicing’ that will facilitate safe and easy maintenance may also provide a possible direction.