As with any topic, we can all agree that a clear concise message is helpful for everyone. Regarding safety signs, you may have noticed two notable authorities have guidelines to help you comply with the law. Both OSHA and ANSI rules are meant to help you select the right signs for your business but who's guidelines should you follow? The information below will help clear up the confusion and point you in the right direction.
Who's guidelines do I follow; OSHA or ANSI?
OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) is the governing body for workplace safety. They legislate and enforce all workplace laws that pertain to employee safety and health. ANSI (American National Safety Institute) is an independent organization that creates and establishes testing practices and procedures. Z535-2011 is the most recent sign guideline established by ANSI and OSHA has incorporated these guidelines, helping you comply with accident prevention signage.
Should I use OSHA or ANSI signs?
The short answer is both. OSHA sign standards are mandatory, but they do not call out specific design elements for signs while ANSI does. The ANSI Z535 committees actually comprise of 6 535 series which include: Z535.1 - Safety Colors Z535.2 - Environmental and facility safety signs Z535.3 - Criteria for safety symbols Z535.4 - Product safety signs and labels Z535.5 - Safety tags and barricade Tapes Z535.6 - Product safety information in manuals, instructions, and other materials
All six of these standards include information pertaining to formats, colors, and symbols for safety signs and literature applications. Together, these six standards contain the information needed to specify formats, word phrasing, colors, and symbols for safety signs used in products, environmental and facility applications, product literature applications, and temporary safety tag and barricade tape applications. So, refer to the OSHA rule and use the ANSI standard as your companion guide when selecting new signs.
Are my old OSHA signs still acceptable?
When ANSI Z535-2011 was adopted by OSHA in 2013, it gave employers more options to be compliant. Existing OSHA-approved signs may be kept but newly posted signs should meet the new regulations. Be sure your new signage meets the most ANSI 535-2011 requirements.