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ANSI Z535 Safety Symbols

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Use of Safety Symbols in conformance with ANSI Z535 & ISO 3864-2

ANSI Z535 encourages the use of safety symbols that communicate a comparable message to the worded message on the sign or label. The safety symbol when selected properly, should identify:

  • The hazard
  • Identify a means of avoiding the hazard
  • Or identify the consequences of not avoiding the hazard.

The safety symbol should clarify or reinforce the worded message on the label. When safety symbols are being used they should be as simple as possible and should contain only essential details. They should be easy to learn and to recognize.
There are four types of safety symbols described in ANSI Z535.5 2007.

  • Hazard Alerting
  • Mandatory Action
  • Prohibition
  • Information

When using safety symbols to comply with ANSI, the symbol can be black on a white background, other colors may be used, like safety red for fire related symbols, green for emergency equipment, etc. To comply with both ANSI Z535.4 and ISO 3864 Standards simultaneously, then, the following applies, ISO 3864 2002 standards require that all of the safety symbols used on international product safety labels be within a surround shape, yellow equilateral triangle with black inner border for hazard alerting symbols, blue circle for mandatory actions, and red circle with 45° degree slash for prohibition symbols. ANSI Z535.4 2007 does not required the use of a yellow equilateral triangle or the mandatory surround shape but, it does recognize it and permits their use.

Symbol Classification: Hazard Alert Symbols

Hazard Alerting: This type of safety symbol conveys information primarily related to the nature of hazards. Like, hazard description, how to avoid the hazard and sometimes the consequences of not avoiding the hazard.

If a surround shape is desired, the hazard alerting symbol should be drawn within a yellow equilateral triangle. The yellow equilateral triangle is required on safety alert symbols used on ISO compliant product safety labels. The image below shows some examples from our Safety Symbol Database.

Safety Symbols Classification

Symbol Classification: Prohibition Symbols

Prohibition Symbols: This type of safety symbol conveys actions that should not be taken. This symbol consists of a red circular band with a 45° diagonal red band from upper left to lower right. The symbol contains a black image within the red band on a white background. Prohibition symbols are mandatory for use on ISO compliant product safety labels. The image below shows some examples from our Safety Symbol Database.

Safety Symbols Classification

Symbol Classification: Mandatory Symbols

Mandatory Action Symbols: This type of safety symbol conveys actions that should be taken to avoid hazards. If a surround shape is desired, the symbol consist of a white image within a solid blue or black circular surround shape. The blue surround shape is required on ISO compliant product safety labels that contain mandatory action symbols. The image below shows some examples from our Safety Symbol Database.

Safety Symbols Classification

Symbol Classification: Information Symbols

Information Symbols: This type of safety symbol is generally used on ANSI Z535.2 Environmental Safety or Fire Safety Signs, to convey equipment location, permitted actions and fire equipment location.

Fire Related Safety Symbols:
Safety Symbols Classification

Emergency Equipment Safety Symbols:
Safety Symbols Classification

Safety Symbols

There are 2 basic types of safety symbols for use on safety signs, labels and tags: hazard alerting and hazard avoidance.

Hazard Alerting Symbols: A well developed hazard description pictorial should clearly identify the hazard and portray the potential consequences of a failure to follow instructions.

Safety Symbols Classification

Hazard Avoidance Symbols: Should clearly identify the actions necessary to avoid interaction of persons with the hazard.

Safety Symbols Classification

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