ANSI Symbol Definitions
Why should I use ANSI symbols?
To better communicate potential hazards or policies on accident prevention signs, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has recommended that symbols be used on signs and labels.
According to the ANSI Z535 standard, these ANSI symbols should be used to supplement the sign’s legend and reinforce or clarify the intended message.
This can be especially helpful in multilingual workplaces where employees may not fully understand a sign’s legend. Adding universally understood ANSI symbols help bring a common element to the message.
These easily understood ANSI symbols can also help workers identify hazards from far away. Although signs should be posted according to minimum viewing distances, seeing an accident prevention sign’s symbol earlier would increase reaction time and give more time to avoid a potential hazard.
ANSI symbols also benefit workers with limited reading skills or who are illiterate and cannot understand a safety sign’s message.
Safety Symbol Definitions – ANSI
There are four types of ANSI symbols described in ANSI Z535.3:
|ANSI Symbol Type||Definition|
|Hazard Alerting||ANSI symbols that relate to the nature of a potential hazard, such as high voltage or hot surface|
|Informational||Symbols displaying permitted actions, the location of equipment, or directional information|
|Mandatory Action||ANSI symbols that convey actions that should be taken to avoid potential hazards.|
|Prohibited Action||Symbols depicting actions that should not be taken. The action is shown with a red circular band around it and a diagonal band across the action.|
Safety Symbol Definitions – OSHA
With the exception of hazard communication symbols, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has not developed standards that specifically define symbols for safety signs.
The ANSI Z535-2011 standard was adopted by OSHA, making compliance with this ANSI standard part of the greater OSHA safety regulations. This means that the use of ANSI symbols to reinforce safety messages is a best practice for the design of safety signs.
What are ANSI standards?
ANSI is an independent organization that oversees standards for numerous industries. These standards help create uniformity for products, processes, and ways to share information, such as accident prevention information. Learn more...
What is the ANSI format for safety signs?
ANSI safety sign formats are based on the ANSI Z535-2011 standard. This standard has three important elements, including a safety header, images, and the sign legend. Learn more...
What are ANSI color codes?
ANSI color codes are described in the ANSI Z535.1-2001 standard for the identification of potential hazards and safety equipment. Each color or combination of colors has its own use case. Learn more...
Do I need OSHA or ANSI safety signs?
The goals of OSHA and ANSI designed signs are the same: to alert workers of potential hazards and of workplace polices. There are many factors that should be considered before choosing one design or the other, and in many cases, an ANSI formatted sign will comply with OSHA standards. Learn more...
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