OSHA Updates Its Regulations on Signage, a Workplace Safety Issue Championed by Clarion Safety Systems

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Clarion CEO Geoffrey Peckham’s Ongoing Leadership to Bolster the United States’ Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Adoption of the American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI) Z535 Standards Leads to Signage Regulation Update, Signifying an Important Advancement in Workplace Safety Nationwide

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Clarion Safety Systems helps companies reduce risk and protect people with best practice, standards-compliant safety labels, safety signs, and safety markings.

This is an important update to advance workplace safety across the country with effective signage.

Clarion Safety Systems, a longstanding leader in advancing best practices in visual safety communication, announced today that its efforts to promote the use of industry best practices related to safety signs, colors and tags to the United States’ Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has resulted in the agency updating its workplace safety sign and tag regulations to incorporate the 2011 American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI) Z535 standards.

Clarion’s CEO, Geoffrey Peckham, who serves as chair of the ANSI Z535 Committee for Safety Signs and Colors and chair and delegation head for ANSI to the ISO standards pertaining to safety signs, has championed this update. Over the last four years, Peckham has lobbied OSHA to recognize that the ANSI Z535 standards provide an equal or greater level of safety as compared to the 1967-68 USASI Z53 and Z35 standards. The older 1960’s era standards were the only U.S. standards referenced by OSHA in its regulations prior to this change.

“This is an important update to advance workplace safety across the country with effective signage,” says Deb Patterson, president of Clarion Safety Systems. “There’s a better way to warn than what’s present in most of today’s workplaces. Safety signage, when done well using the latest best practice standards, reduces risk and protects people.”

Most employers currently use signs that comply with the older 1967-1968 standards. The goal of the safety sign regulation update is to improve workplace safety by allowing employers to use the latest ANSI Z535 standards, which better communicate safety. Prior to this OSHA rule change, employers using the newer ANSI Z535 standards for their signage would run the risk of being cited for violating OSHA standards, called a “de minimus situation.”

The state-of-the-art characteristics of the ANSI Z535 standards for signage include the following:

  • Provide critical information viewers need to make safe decisions, such as the nature of the hazard, the consequence of interaction with the hazard, and how to avoid the hazard
  • Are supported by human factors research on effective warnings and by modern risk assessment methodologies for accurately communicating hazard severity
  • Have the ability to use multiple language panels and graphical symbol panels to enhance noticeability and communicate safety to non-English speaking workers
  • Meet current legal criteria for “adequate warnings” as defined by the past thirty years of U.S. case law

“What’s truly exciting here is that OSHA’s endorsement of the ANSI Z535 standards ushers in a new era for safety signage in line with what product manufacturers have successfully used for over 20 years to improve safety. In summary, this will achieve a national uniform system of hazard recognition,” says Peckham. “Safety and risk-conscious companies understand that, when it comes to achieving zero harm and accident prevention, your workers, your company and your industry will be best served by utilizing the ANSI Z535 standards that are now accepted by OSHA.”

To help safety and risk professionals to learn more about the standards change and how it effects workplaces, Clarion offers the following resources:

Clarion specializes in bringing companies up-to-date with the latest warnings technology and produces a product line of best practice, standards-compliant safety signs, labels, tags and markings. Additional information is available by contacting the company or visiting Clarion's Resource Guide for workplace safety signs, labels, tags and markings.

Clarion Safety Systems, LLC, is the leading designer and manufacturer of visual safety solutions that help customers in more than 180 industries worldwide to make their products and premises safer. Clarion offers a full range of standard and custom products including machinery safety labels, environmental and facility safety signs, pipe and valve identification markings, lockout/tagout products, and safety-grade photoluminescent egress path-marking escape systems. Founded in 1990, the company continues to play a leading role in the development and writing of international and national standards for safety signs, labels, and markings. Clarion is headquartered at 190 Old Milford Road in Milford, PA, 18337, and online at http://www.clarionsafety.com.

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Erin Earley
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