What the Most Recent ISO and ANSI Product Safety Label Standards Mean for You

Sep 1st 2020

Product manufacturers, construction professionals, and agricultural experts have a legal obligation to meet or exceed the current safety standards related to their equipment and products. In the United States, the primary safety label standard is ANSI Z535.4 Standard for Product Safety Signs and Labels. There is also an international component which is titled ISO 3864-2 Graphical symbols – Safety Colours and Safety Signs. Recently, there were a few updates made to the ISO safety standards.

A Change in the ISO Safety Label Format

One of the major updates to the ISO safety standards was that the safety label format that used to have a single safety symbol without an ISO-colored border was removed. Now, ISO product safety labels need to include at least one safety symbol that has been formatted to match the ISO’s standards.

In addition, there is a “general warning sign” that can be used as a safety alert symbol on the severity level panel of the label. If there are symbols present that do not have an ISO-colored border, they can still be used as long as there is another symbol that does contain the colored border. Symbols without the ISO-colored border are now called “supplementary safety symbols.”

A Wordless Format Has Been Added

The other major change that took place to the ISO safety standards was that a wordless format can now be used to convey risk. The ISO calls this a “hazard severity panel.” There is no signal word with this format. The goal of this sign is to appropriately communicate a relevant risk level via the color-coding of the hazard severity panel. This means that relevant signs can now communicate important information without requiring translation. The ISO-colored borders mentioned above should still be used in these safety panel formats.

What The Next Steps Entail

It is important for everyone in this industry to be aware of the changes made to the ISO safety standards. These changes could open up safety label formatting to new possibilities that could be used to warn users about potential hazards of their products.

Therefore, professionals in construction and manufacturing should take a few important steps. These include:

  • Take a look at the labels to see if they meet the requirements of the industry
  • Analyze whether or not the wordless format makes sense for new safety labels

The product safety label updates provide professionals with new options when it comes to communicating important safety messages. This is an opportunity to refresh safety labels, review their content, and see if the format fits with the product’s risk level.

A Move Toward Graphic Safety Labels

Many regulatory agencies, including the ANSI and the ISO, are moving toward graphic safety and custom labels. This is an important shift because graphic labels can communicate risk information more quickly without having to require translation. It will be interesting to see if these standards continue to evolve as more manufacturers look for opportunities to create safety labels with graphics instead of text. If you would like help developing high-quality, graphic safety decals that comply with ANSI and ISO standards, contact us today! We would be happy to help you with all of your safety label needs.

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