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Decal Development with ANSI and ISO Standards
In the age of failure-to-warn lawsuits and tight budgets, safety decals and safety signs have never been more important. Insufficient or poorly designed safety decals could result in costs and time that your company simply can’t spare.
There are industry standards that have been developed to help prevent these errors, but they change frequently, making it difficult to keep up. It is easy to get confused and frustrated with the ever-growing list of standards.
This two-part series will provide an informative overview of what you should be thinking of and examining during the decal development process. The first article of the series reviews the organizations that set the standards. The following article will encompass the basic elements of decal development, and how a properly designed decal should look before it is placed on the product.
ANSI and ISO
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) are the two main resources manufacturers should be using for evaluating and guiding through the development of safety decals. ANSI and ISO are very similar and one or both are followed by most manufactures. However, it is important to pay attention to what industry the safety decal is being created for since a particular industry may have its own, unique standard(s).
ANSI decals encompass four elements:
- Signal word panel (NOTICE, CAUTION, WARNING, DANGER)
- Hazard identification
- Hazard avoidance
- Consequence of not avoiding the hazard
ISO decals consist of:
- Optional signal word panel
- Hazard pictogram inside a triangle
- Avoidance pictorial
- Yellow background
- Optional text outlining the hazard/hazard avoidance
These standards are put into place to avoid an actual hazard. When determining a hazard the manufacturer should conduct a hazard analysis or a physical review of the product. This will bring to light all the possible hazards as well as determine how to avoid the hazard and the consequences if it is not avoided. This step also allows the manufacturer to determine the severity of the hazard. ANSI and ISO use the following to define the severity of hazards:
- NOTICE: for messages not related to safety (ANSI only)
- CAUTION: minor or moderate injury could occur
- WARNING: death or serious injury could occur
- DANGER: death or serious injury will occur
A good supplier follows these standards and has procedures in place to make sure they are up-to-date on the constantly changing specifications.
Look for the next article, which will focus on safety decal design and development.
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