Are Your Safety Labels Up to Date?

Sep 18th 2020

Safety labels have a vital role in protecting individuals from harm and manufacturers from liability. When you are creating products, you have a legal obligation to either meet or exceed the current safety standards related to your industry. Because these standards change over time, it pays to check to make sure you are compliant with the latest version of the rules.

What Safety Label Standards Apply to US Manufacturers?

Manufacturers in the US should look at two labeling standards. The first is the US standard ANSI Z535.4 Standard for Product Safety Signs and Labels. Companies who do business internationally should also look at ISO 3864 – 2 Graphical symbols – Safety colours and safety signs – Part 2: Design principles for product safety labels. Together, these give product label designers a starting to point to ensure that their safety labels communicate any dangers and adhere to accepted product safety standards.

Updates to ANSI and ISO Standards

Generally, product safety label standards are reviewed and revised about every five years. In some cases, when the standards are reviewed no changes are needed. The standard is then just updated with the latest date, but the contents are left unchanged.

The ISO standard was most recently updated in 2016 with changes that applied starting in 2017. The latest update included two major changes. First, the new standards call for at least one ISO-formatted safety symbol. These labels feature a general warning sign that is placed inside a colored safety alert sample. Manufacturers can still use non-ISO formatted symbols, but they must be accompanied by compliant ones.

The second change is a new wordless format that puts across the severity of the risk associated with a product. This panel uses color coding and ISO-formatted warning symbols together. The benefit of this standard is that it makes translations unnecessary and allows manufacturers to keep users safe anywhere their products are sold and used.

Keeping Up with Labeling Needs

It can sometimes be a challenge to keep up with labeling needs. Because of differing requirements, custom labels can often be a good answer. These can help manufacturers stay up to date on all of the requirements that apply to them, no matter where in the world their products are sold. Picking a good partner for custom decals and periodically reviewing both ANSI and ISO can keep manufacturers compliant and their products safe.

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