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GB 5296.

1-2012

ICS 03. 080. 30


A 12

NATIONAL STANDARDS
OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA

GB 5296.1-2012
Replace GB 5296.1-1997

Instructions for Use of Products of


Consumer Interest-Part 1: General
Principles

(ISO/IEC Guide 37:1995, INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE of products of consumer interest,


MOD)

Translated by: www.ChineseStandard.net

Issued on: December 31, 2012


Jointly issued by:

Implemented on: May 01, 2013

The General Administration of Quality Supervision,


Inspection and Quarantine of the People's Republic of
China; Standardization Administration Committee of The
People's Republic of China

GB 5296.1-2012

Table of Contents

GB 5296.1-2012

Foreword
In this Part, the contents in 6.2, 8.2.1.7, 8.2.4, 8.6.2, Clause 13 and Clause 14 are
recommendatory and the rest are mandatory.
7 parts of GB 5296 "Instructions for Use of Products of Consumer Interest" have now
been published:
Part 1: General Principles;
Part 2: Instructions for Use of Household and Similar Electrical Appliances;
Part 3: General Labeling for Cosmetics;
Part 4: Textiles and Apparel;
Part 5: Toys;
Part 6: Furniture;
Part 7: Sports Equipment.
This Part is Part 1 of GB 5296.
This Part was drafted in accordance with the regulations of GB/T 1.1-2009.
This Part replaces GB 5296.1-1997 and has the key changes as follows, compared with
GB 5296.1-1997:
Description and composition have been brought in line with the compulsory
requirements of the national standards, and Introduction has been added;
The labeling for consistency degree in adopting international standards has been
given according to the requirements in GB/T 20000.2-2009;
The sections Foreword and Introduction in ISO/IEC have been removed;
The term products of consumer interest has been added (see 3.2);
The definition of INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE has been revised (3.2 in the 1997
edition; 3.3 in the present edition);
Regulations for product name labeling have been modified (see 4.2 a));
Supplementary regulations for clear labeling of expiry dates have been added (see
4.9);
The manufacturers name, address and executive product standard number are
added (see 4.10);
Requirements for INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE of small products and small
packaging area have been added (see 4.12);
Regulations for the height of the Chinese characters in the instructions have been
added (see 8.2.1.1, 8.2.1.2);
The corresponding point values for the font sizes in ISO/IEC Guide 37 have been
revised (see 8.2.1.3, 8.2.1.4);
"Health" has been revised as suitability (see 8.2.3);
Supplementary provisions for color usage have been added (see 8.3.3);
Samples have been revised (8.5.3 in the 1997 edition; 8.5.3 in the present edition);
The provision of Chinese instructions has been assured, and the speech sound are
specified (see 8.6.1);
Regulations on explanation in multiple languages are modified and the specification
for position of the Chinese INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE is specified (see 8.6.2);
The requirements for standard Chinese characters have been added (see 8.6.3);
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GB 5296.1-2012

Regulations governing the use of graphics in different languages have been revised
and supplemented (8.6.4 in the 1997 edition; 8.6.4 in the present edition);
Regulations governing the layout of the text have been added (clause 13);
Some terms and expressions in several clauses have been revised for the purpose of
accuracy and completeness.
This Part is redrafted and modified in relation to ISO/IEC Guide 37 "Instructions for Use
of Products of Consumer Interest", which is the main technical content, some of which is
modified based on the actual conditions in China.
This Part has revised the order of several clauses in ISO/ IEC Guide 37: 1995
"Instructions for Use of Products of Consumer Interest" Annex B provides a table to compare
the numbers of chapters and clauses in this Part and those in ISO/IEC Guide 37: 1995.
Those clauses with technical differences between this Part and ISO/IEC Guide 37:1995
have been indicated by a single vertical line to the page margin. Annex C outlines technical
differences and the reasons for revision.
This standard is proposed by and under the jurisdiction of National Technical Committee
on Services of Standardization Administration of China (SAC/TC 264).
Chief drafting organizations of this Part: China National Institute of Standardization,
China Consumers Association, Research Center for International Standards and Technical
Regulation on Inspection and Quarantine of General Administration of Quality Supervision,
Inspection and Quarantine of the People's Republic of China, China Electronics
Standardization Institute.
Chief drafting staffs of this Part: Feng Wei, Wang Zheng, Ding Dongjiang, Lu Xilin, Ren
Jing, Zhang Xiaoli, Jiao Yang.
The previous editions replaced by this Part are:
GB 5296.1-1985, GB 5296.1-1997.

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GB 5296.1-2012

Introduction
"INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE" is the means of conveying information to the consumer
on how to use the product in a correct and safe manner. They play an important part in
protecting consumers personal safety, their property and their personal health as well as
protecting against environmental pollution, preventing fraud and misleading information, and
protecting consumers rights.
This Part of GB 5296 is an important drive and guidance in developing other parts of the
national standard on "Instructions for Use of Products of Consumer Interest" and facilitating
the standardization of INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE in China.
This Part, as the general principles of GB 5296, is not able to provide detail requirements
of INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE to cover all kinds of consumer products. Therefore, the
principles provided by this Part are the general requirements to all stakeholders on the design
and compilation of all kinds of INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE.

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GB 5296.1-2012

NATIONAL STANDARDS
OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA

GB 5296.1-2012

Instructions for Use of Products of Consumer


Interest-Part 1: General Principles
1
1 Scope
1.1 This Part of GB 5296 specifies the compilation principles and methods of
INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE of consumer products (hereinafter referred to as
INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE). This Part applies to:
Consumer product designers, manufacturer, technical document drafters or other
people who engage in the work of conceiving and drafting such instructions;
Technical committees or organization which drafts standards for consumer
products.
1.2 The principles and methods in this Part shall be applied in combination with the specific
requirements of INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE of specific product standard.
1.3 This Part includes evaluation methods for INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE of consumer
products (see Annex A). It shall be used as reference methods and basics to review the
comprehensiveness of contents of the INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE; and to assess the
compilation quality of the INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE.
Annex A is primarily provided for researchers, experts and consumer product assessment
organizations. It is also helpful to the readers and administrators, as defined in this chapter
1.1.

2 Normative References
The following referenced documents are indispensable for the application of this
document. For dated references, only the dated editions apply. For undated references, the
latest edition of the normative document (include all the amendments) applies.
GB/T 2893.1 Graphic Symbols - Safety Colors and Safety Signs - Part 1: Design
Principles for Safety Signs in Workplaces and Public Areas (GB/T 2893.1-2004, ISO 3864-1:
2002, MOD)
GB/T 2893.2 Graphic Symbols - Safety Colors and Safety Signs - Part 2: Design
Principles for Safety Signs on Goods (GB/T 2893.2-2008, ISO 3864-2:2004, MOD)
GB 2894 Safety Signs and Guideline for the Use
GB/T 5465.2 Graphic Symbols for Use on Electrical Equipment-Part 2: Graphic
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GB 5296.1-2012

Symbols (GB/T 5465.2-2008, IEC 60417 DB: 2007, IDT)


GB/T 7291 Graphic Symbols - Technical Guidelines for the Consideration of
Consumers' Needs (GB/T 7291-2008, ISO/IEC Guide 74:2004, MOD)
GB/T 10001.1 Public Information Graphic Symbols for Use on Signs-Part 1: Common
Symbols (GB/T 10001. 1-2006, ISO 7001: 1990, NEQ)
GB/T 16273.1 Graphic Symbols for Use on Equipment - Part 1: Common Symbols
(GB/T 16273.1-2008, ISO 7000: 2004, NEQ)
GB/T 16273.4 Graphic Symbols for Use on Equipment-Part 4: Symbols Incorporating
Arrows
GB/T 16900 Rules for the Presentation of Graphic Symbols-General Principles
GB/T 20002.1 Drafting for Special Aspects in Standards-Part 1: Child Safety (GB/T
20002.1-2008, ISO/IEC Guide 50:2002, IDT)
ISO 11683 Packaging-Tactile Warnings of Danger-Requirements

3 Terms and Definitions


The following terms and definitions apply to this document.
3.1
Consumer
A member of society who purchases or uses commodities or accepts a service in order to
meet the lifes needs
3.2
Products of consumer interest
Products sold to meet the lifes needs of social members
3.3
INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE
Information conveyed to users on how to use product correctly and safely, and about
functions, basic properties and characteristics of the product. It is usually presented in the
form of INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE, label or nameplate. It can be represented by documents,
words, marks, symbols, pictures, charts, graphic expression, audio or visual information,
individually or in combination. It can be used on product [including instructions of device
operator (keys or buttons) or instructions of electronic display] or on packaging. It can also be
delivered as accompanying documents or materials (e.g. loose-leaf information sheet,
manuals, audio and video tapes, and CDs).
Note: The INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE is a form to convey the product information in a comprehensive manner. Therefore,
detailed requirements are defined in this Part.

4 General Principles
4.1 INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE is an essential part of product delivery.
4.2 INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE shall ensure:
a) The product name clearly identifies a product and reflects its true nature;
b) The product designation, model and trademark correctly identify a product, and
comply with the relevant national regulations;
c) Indicate the type and capability of targeted users;
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GB 5296.1-2012

d) Define, according to needs, the intended use of the product;


e) Provide all information required for use of the product and/or the service correctly
and safely.
4.3 Instructions for use shall include below information according to needs, individually or in
combination:
a) Function and operation;
b) Transport, assembly, installation and storage;
c) Cleaning, maintenance, fault diagnosis and repair;
d) Destruction/disposal (or process) of the product and/or waste materials; potential
influence to safety and environmental.
4.4 INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE shall convey important messages to the consumer about
aspects of usage related to:
The environment (for example, appropriate dosage of detergent for a washing
machine; destruction/disposal of waste; recycling);
Conservation of energy and other resources.
4.5 INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE shall assist consumer for proper use of the product; provide
instructions against any misuse that can be reasonably predicted; and provide adequate
warnings to effectively help consumer to avoid potential misuse which may cause danger.
4.6 INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE shall not be used as remedy of any design flaws of the
product.
4.7 INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE shall indicate for the required special protective measures
during usage to protect users and bystanders (for example, children user requires adult
supervision; or user is required to wear special clothing). Dangers to particular groups (such
as children, elderly people and disabled people) shall be borne in mind.
4.8 For those instructions are only targeted to a specific group of users (for example:
installation, repair or certain kinds of maintenance), they shall be given separately and be
adequately marked. In some cases they need not accompany the product.
4.9 In the event that a product is supplied with a limited safety period or with expiry date, the
date of manufacture, the safety period of usage and quality-guarantee period (or expiry date)
shall be provided. When supplied to the consumers, the packaging shall also clearly state the
date of manufacture, the safe-usage-period and quality-guarantee period (or expiry date) at
prominent location.
4.10 The manufacturers name, address and product standard number shall be clearly
indicated in the INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE.
4.11 INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE and similar materials shall indicate the publication date or
edition number.
4.12 When the largest surface-area of the product or its retail packaging is less than 10cm 2,
information other than the product name, manufacturers name, manufacturing date of those
products with deadline-for-use, safe-usage-period and quality-guarantee period (or expiry
date) can be indicated in other INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE. [Translator: . can be indicated
in INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE]
4.13 For technical contents and description of the same product, INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE
released by manufacturer or producer shall be consistent with all other materials (such as
advertising or packaging).

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GB 5296.1-2012

5 Clauses in Standard related to Instruction for Use


5.1 Product standard related to consumer interests shall clearly specify the required contents
for INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE (for example, briefly expressed n the form of a list).
INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE shall form an independent chapter of the product standard. It
shall be entitled as INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE (for example, including installation and
maintenance).
5.2 When specific procedures are necessary for safe use, operation, assembly, disassembly,
cleaning or maintenance of the product, or similarly for its destruction (process), or disposal
of waste materials, they shall be specified in the product standard.
5.3 When INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE are provided on the product itself or its packaging,
they shall be explain in detail in the chapters related to marking and labeling.

6 Location and Pattern


6.1 The location, pattern, style and contents of the INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE shall depend
on one or multiple factors as follows:
Nature of danger;
Environmental or similar requirements;
Product design;
Consumers needs of the relevant information under specific condition.
These factors determine that INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE shall be provided in one or
multiple forms as follows:
on the product;
on the packaging;
in document or material accompanying the product.
Note: Providing INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE on the product itself has clear advantages of convenience for the user.
However, for some products, because of their small size or their shape, or the fact that they are partially obstructed from view
during use, only providing partial or all of the INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE on packaging or in accompanying materials may be
the best or only solution.

6.2 When INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE is complicate, it may be very helpful to user and
should be adopted diligently - providing certain important messages on the product; adopting
brief instructions, reminder cards, stickers or labels.
6.3 When safety depends on the consumers pay-attention-degree to installation, use,
maintenance, destruction or disposal, and when the correct methods may not able to easily
draw consumers attention, the product safety standard shall at least specify one cautionary
marking to draw the consumers attention to the relevant part(s) of the INSTRUCTIONS FOR
USE.

7 Information Provided at the Point of Sale


When INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE is the elementary factor for consumer to make a
reasonable purchasing decision from many [Translator: similar] products, the
INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE or the relevant parts of it shall be readily available at the point of
sale.
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GB 5296.1-2012
Note: Providing all the information necessary at the point of sale for a reasonable purchasing decision is the recommended
method of product information systems (see GB/T 21737-2008). This information shall include some of the conditions
mentioned in this Part, for example, the need of protective clothing and warning parents to restrict the children use (see 9.5).

8 Compilation Requirements
8.1 General Principles
8.1.1 INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE shall clearly identify the product, stating the model, class
or type of the product. Differences between a model and its modified version; between two
models (regardless how small is the difference); or among the various specifications of the
same model - shall not cause consumer to have such INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE in hand
which mismatches the actual product in use (see 4.11).
8.1.2 Consumer shall be provided with the INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE relevant to singlemodel-product. However, when the INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE is identical for two or
multiple model-product, a single set of INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE containing the seriesmodel-products information is acceptable. In this case, the model used by consumer shall be
indicated.
8.1.3 Instructions related to optional modules or extras shall be clearly separated from general
instructions and instructions for other modules or extras (for example, by the use of separate
clauses, titles, etc.), so that consumers are not confused by irrelevant material.
8.2 Easy-reading
8.2.1 Font and size of INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE provided on the product, and font and size
of printed material and computer-processed information shall be clear and large-enough to
ensure easy-reading.
8.2.1.1 Under the conditions to comply with the requirements of 8.2.2, 8.3.1 and 8.3.3, the
height of the font of Chinese INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE on the product or on the product
packaging shall not be less than 1.8 mm (5.25 pt, font size 7). If the conditions permit, larger
font shall be used.
8.2.1.2 The height of the font of Chinese INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE shall not be less than
3.2mm (9 pt, small-5 font size).
8.2.1.3 Under the conditions to comply with the requirements of 8.2.2, 8.3.1 and 8.3.3, the
height (the height of lower character [Translator: x vs. X]) of English character x (typeface)
on the product or on product packaging shall not be less than 1.5mm (4.27 pt).
Note 1: In the typographic point system, the corresponding size is approximately 4.27 points (Pica: 1 point 0.351mm).
Note 2: For alphabets other than Latin alphabet, the selection of font and size shall be the same clear and easy-reading.

8.2.1.4 For main contents of English INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE (for example, leaflets,
information, manuals), alphabets with height between 3.2 mm and 5.6 mm (9 points to 16
points) shall be used.
8.2.1.5 For titles in INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE (printed leaflets, information, manuals),
titles in instructions printed on product, or titles in other short information which are often
read by consumer, 3.7mm-above font size (10.5 point, 5 point scale) shall be used, depending
on the reading distance.
8.2.1.6 The location and the angle (between the surface and the vertical plane) of
INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE printed on product shall be such that they can be easily read by
users from the position(s) during use.
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8.2.1.7 Relevant standards may include more [Translator: other/additional] relevant parameter
specifications for promotion of readability - especially those relate to font size and reading
distance.
8.2.2 Brightness contrast - the difference between the percentage of light reflected from the
background and the percentage of light reflected from the printing - shall be as great as
possible.
Note 1: The contrast shall usually be greater than 70%. Bright Contrast of good-quality black printed-matter on white paper
is about 80%.
Note 2: To avoid - In the case of double-side-printing on some thin-paper, printing-pass-through may be generated to reduce
the brightness contrast and cause poor readability.

According to above parameters, minimal font size and minimal requirements of


brightness contrast shall be specified in product standards.
8.2.3 Contents related to safety in INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE shall adopt wordings with
different font or size (font size) or [Translator: through] other means, to make them
conspicuous. If a specific instruction cannot be confirmed relevant to safety or applicability,
priority shall be given to safety instruction.
8.2.4 Engraving or embossing the wordings, digits or marks of INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE
onto metal-glass-or-plastic product - has advantages in durability, reducing scattered materials
etc. However, it shall be compared with good-quality printed-matter. The clearer one shall be
primarily selected (see 12.1).
8.3 Color
8.3.1 Use of color shall be clear, striking to eye and easy for fast identification especially for
those related to control, critical components.
8.3.2 If use of color is adopted, it shall possess functional, systematic and consistent property
(see GB/T 2893.1, GB/T 2893.2, GB 2894).
8.3.3 As some people have difficulty in color discrimination for those instructions using
color to express specific meaning, color discrimination shall not be used as the only method;
wording instruction or use of other method shall also be available.
8.4 Expression principles
8.4.1 In order to achieve the best effect - according to principle Read and understand first,
then act and use, INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE shall be reasonably expressed in sequence of
usage and requirements of each step and procedure.
Note: In case when fast reaction is required (for example, when fire extinguisher is required), INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE
shall ensure consumer to read-understand and able-to-use, with the most briefing thinking-process.

8.4.2 When complicate operating procedure must be followed for safe and correct use of the
product, the INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE shall help and promote the consumer to successfully
learn and understand the procedure. Methods to very effectively achieve this objective include
providing graphics, tables and operational flow chart (see 8.7, 8.9 and 8.10).
8.4.3 For INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE of a product with several different independent
functions, the essential and general functions of the product shall be firstly introduced. And
other functions shall be introduced secondly.
8.4.4 The INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE of a product shall predict the problems which may be
encountered by consumer, and provide answers (for example, provide similar questions
"WHERE? WHO? WHAT? WHEN? HOW? WHY?"; and provide answers).
8.5 Expression and use of technical terms
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GB 5296.1-2012

8.5.1 INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE shall be as simple and brief as possible, and easyunderstand by consumer. Unavoidable technical terms shall be defined or explained.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE shall use consistent terms, symbols and units to express the
same information, and be compliant with the relevant requirements of the Nation.
8.5.2 The main body of document and material shall comply with the expression principles of
8.4 - short and meaningful title; and providing note to help user to find the needed contents
(see 8.11).
8.5.3 One sentence shall usually contain only one content-requirement, or very few contentrequirements which are closely related. For the purpose of clarity:
Use active-tense verb, do not use passive-tense verb;
Requirements to be assertive and commanding, not fuzzy and weak;
Use actionable verb, do not use abstract noun;
Express directly and straight-forward, not tactfully.
See Table 1 for examples:
Table 1 Expression and Use Examples of Technical Terms
Language expression principles

Shall be expressed in this pattern

Shall not be expressed in this pattern

Use active voice

Turn off power

To ensure the power is off

Assertive and commanding

Do not touch hand-ring

Hand-ring shall not be touched

Use actionable verb

Avoid accident

Avoidance of accident

Directly and straight-forward

Pull the operational bar firmly

User to pull operational bar from the equipment

8.6 Language
8.6.1 Consuming product selling to domestic market shall provide Chinese
INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE. Audio INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE shall adopt mandarin
(including the help information during the using procedure).
Note: Consuming product for export shall provide INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE with the official legal language of the
locality of sale.

8.6.2 For consuming product selling to domestic market, when more than one language is
required for INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE, the Chinese instructions shall be placed before the
foreign language. Chinese titles shall be striking to eye and outstanding. Instructions of
different language shall be separated obviously.
8.6.3 Chinese INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE shall adopt standard Chinese characters.
Note: For consuming product selling to Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan or foreign countries, INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE may
use traditional Chinese, if required by the demand-side.

8.6.4 When INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE of other language is same-contently [Translator: full
translation] translated into Chinese INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE, all contents including notes
shall be translated. For graphics without legend, the graphic caption may be translated. And
the original graphics shall be quoted.

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