Determine correct viewing distances
How do I determine the correct viewing distance of my safety sign?
While OSHA does not specifically set regulations for sign size, text size, and the correct viewing distance of signs, the ANSI Z535.2-2011 standard can be used to guide best practices that define these important factors.
The viewing distance is dependent on two important elements: viewing conditions and text size.
To first determine a viewing distance, the conditions for reading the sign must be evaluated by the end user. If signage is posted where:
workers will have time necessary to react to a hazard;
text is legible and easy to read;
text can be read without obstruction from objects, smoke, etc.;
signage is in well-lighted area;
then the signage is likely posted in “favorable” conditions.
If there are factors such as low lighting, obstructions, or decreased reaction time, the conditions may be “unfavorable” and the viewing distance should be reduced. Only the end user can consider the use environment and make this determination.
Sign size does not necessarily effect the viewing distance of a sign, but larger signs generally have larger text sizes, which directly effects viewing distances.
Using a SafetySign.com OSHA compliant safety sign (item #I2404), under favorable conditions the 14” x 10” sign’s message can be read from up to 11 feet, 9 inches away. Larger signs, with bigger text, can be read from further away in favorable conditions.
According to the ANSI Z535-2011 standard, for favorable viewing conditions, a ratio of 25 feet of viewing distance per inch of text is needed.
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