What is ANSI Z535.2?

ANSI Z535.2 American National Standard for Environmental and Facility Safety Signs is one of six individual standards that make up ANSI Z535.

ANSI Z535.2 defines requirements for a safety sign’s format. This includes safety headers with signal words, safety symbols, and sign legends.

ANSI Z535.2 Headers

Each header and signal word combination is classified by the seriousness of the potential hazard that it indicates. The signal words specified are:

indicates hazardous situations, which if not avoided, will result in serious injury or death.
indicates potentially hazardous situations, which if not avoided, could result in serious injury or death.
indicates potentially hazardous situations, which if not avoided, could result in minor or moderate injury.
indicates important information that is not safety related. This includes company policy and security messages.
Safety Instructions
indicates safety-related instructions, but the signal word can be changed to be more specific (like Lockout Procedure).
Safety or Fire Equipment
If a sign that locates safety or fire equipment has a header, the sign’s signal word should be specific to the equipment (like Fire Extinguisher or Emergency Eye Wash).

Each sign header would use corresponding colors from ANSI Z535.1, meaning that a Danger header would be red; Warning would be orange, etc.


As part of header, a safety alert symbol should be inserted next to the signal word. A Caution header, without the safety alert symbol, can be used as an alternative to Notice to alert of potential property damage. The Safety Instructions header does not use this symbol.

Learn about how to select the right safety header on our ANSI Z535 Safety Headers page.

ANSI Z535.2 Safety Symbols

A safety symbol, or pictogram, should be included in a safety sign’s layout. These graphical symbols can be used to communicate information such as potential hazards or precautions quickly, and across language barriers.

  • ANSI Z5352 Symbols

There are four types of ANSI Z535.3 safety symbols: hazard alert, mandatory action, prohibition, and informational. Learn more about safety symbols on our ANSI Z535 Safety Symbols page.

ANSI Z535.2 Sign Legends

Sign legends should be concise messages that accurately describe the hazard or policy that the sign is indicating. When possible, the sign legend should include the type of hazard, the consequence of not avoiding it, and direction for how to avoid the hazard.

Direct statements are recommended, as they can help to lessen reaction time for the avoidance of a hazard.

As ANSI Z535-2011 was incorporated into OSHA guidelines, this format for an environmental or facility safety sign, including headers, symbols, and legends, is OSHA compliant. Other formats may still be compliant depending on OSHA 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 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 here.

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 here.

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 here.

SafetySign.com does not recommend or specify the use of a specific safety sign because it does not have knowledge of the hazard(s) our customers are identifying. It is the customer’s sole responsibility to identify the hazard(s) that may be present and select one or more signs (stock or custom) that accurately identify their specific hazard(s) and complies with any applicable federal, state or local laws or regulations, any worksite specific rules or regulations and/or any applicable safety standards (including, without limitation, ANSI and/or OSHA standards). SafetySign.com disclaims any and all liability (excluding liability for our Product Warranty contained in our Terms and Conditions) for any sign selected by a customer and shall not be responsible for any personal injury or property damage resulting from the use of signs purchased from it or for the independent interpretation made of any applicable federal, state or local laws or regulations, any worksite specific rules or regulations, and/or any applicable safety standards (including, without limitation, ANSI and/or OSHA standards). Customer shall indemnify and hold SafetySign.com and its corporate parent and its officers, directors and affiliates harmless from and against any and all claims, loss or expense (including attorneys’ fees) arising from or related to the purchase and use by customer or any third party of any sign purchased by customer from SafetySign.com.

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