A New Look for Safety Signs: The ANSI Z535.2-2011 Format


Safety signs, OSHA signs… whatever you choose to call them, they all serve the same purpose; to communicate a precautionary message where a potential workplace hazard exists. Over the years safety signs have changed very little, until now that is. Recently, the American National Standard Institute (ANSI) developed the ANSI Z535.2-2011 format for environmental and facility safety signs. This new standard was created to enhance the communication of workplace hazard messages. For a clear illustration of the layout enhancements made, see the comparison below of traditional OSHA signs versus the new ANSI Z535.2-2011 format.


As you can see, there have been quite a few changes made to the new ANSI format including a new text style and pictograms (symbols) that illustrate the potential hazard. Safety signs using the traditional OSHA format will still be acceptable for use in spite of the new ANSI Z535.2-2011 format. The key components of the new standard are described below.


When designed correctly, the new ANSI safety signs can be highly effective. There are several steps that need to be followed in order to ensure compliance with the standard. Below is a beginner’s outline of those steps.

  1. Identify the potential hazard for which the message needs to be communicated.
  2. Determine the best location for the sign.
  3. Determine the distance that the sign needs to be visible from.
  4. Once distance is determined, the size sign may be figured.
  5. Determine whether a horizontal or vertical layout would fit the location best.
  6. Determine the Signal Word needed.
  7. Determine the Safety Symbol needed.
  8. Determine the Word Message.


For more information on ANSI Standard Z535.2-2011, please visit http://www.nema.org/Standards/z535/Pages/default.aspx.

To upgrade the safety signs in your facility according to the new ANSI Standard, call or email Vulcan, Inc. today!

Phone: 1.888.846.2728

Email: vulcan@vulcaninc.com



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