What are safety sign requirements?

The basic purpose of a safety sign is to alert someone to a policy or potential hazard with enough time to take action and ensure their own safety.

With that as a goal, basic requirements of safety signs should be displaying elements that gain the attention of onlookers in a clear and concise way.

This could be fulfilled by the use of bold colors, clear messages, or universally understood imagery.

Specific safety sign requirements will vary based on a number of factors, including what kind of workplace standards the signage needs to comply with for safety.

Other factors could be minimum necessary viewing distance of the message, the potential hazard or policy that they alert persons to, and policies that guide industry best practices.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets and enforces safety standards for most workplaces in the country, and has developed specific definitions for the types of safety signage that should be used in the workplace.

Danger Construction Area Safety Sign

In the early 1970’s, OSHA adopted the American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI) Z35.1-1968 standard for the design of safety signs – the design we now think of when imagining OSHA safety signs.

This ANSI standard defined the layout of danger signs, caution signs, radiation warning signs, safety instruction signs, exit signs, directional signs, notice signs, and the slow moving vehicle emblem.

In the standard, the definitions of danger signs, caution signs, safety instruction signs, directional signs, and notice signs were also explained.

ANSI has updated their standards for the required design of accident preventions signs (safety signs), and OSHA has recently incorporated these standards.

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 here.

What is the OSHA format for safety signs?

OSHA formats for safety signs include specific use of safety headers, colors, and sign legends. These are OSHA standards and have come to incorporate the ANSI Z535-2011 standard. Learn more here.

also see:

ANSI's website.

OSHA's website


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