Product Safety Label Standards Update Released by Clarion Safety Systems

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Clarion, an active member of both the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards committees, shares insight on the ANSI Z535.4 and ISO 3864-2 product safety label standards

Wordless Product Safety Label Format Example

Example of the new “wordless” safety label format option allowed by ISO 3864-2:2016.

The changes made to labeling formats are significant, and it opens up new opportunities for product manufacturers to better warn people about hazards associated with their products.

Clarion Safety Systems, a leading designer and manufacturer of safety signs and safety labels, as well as an active member of the preeminent standards bodies responsible for safety standards in these areas – the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) – is pleased to share insight on the latest versions of the ANSI Z535.4 and ISO 3864-2 product safety label standards.

“The legal obligation of product manufacturers is to meet or exceed the current versions of standards related to their products when they’re placed into commerce. Use of the principal product safety label standards for the design and layout of labels is key to fulfilling this requirement,” says Geoffrey Peckham, Clarion’s CEO. Peckham serves as chairman of the ANSI Z535 Committee for Safety Signs and Colors and of ANSI’s U.S. Technical Advisory Group to the ISO standards committee responsible for safety signs, labels, colors and symbols – ISO/TC 145. This group is responsible for writing and developing ISO 3864-2.

Domestically, the primary product safety label standard is the ANSI Z535.4 Standard for Product Safety Signs and Labels, last published in 2011. The ANSI Z535.4 standard is in the process of being balloted for reaffirmation without changes; if that occurs this means that the next version will be identical to the 2011 standard.

Internationally, ANSI Z535.4’s counterpart is ISO 3864-2 Graphical symbols – Safety Colours and safety signs – Part 2: Design principles for product safety labels. ISO 3864-2, originally published in 2004, was recently revised in December 2016, with the publication of its second edition. ISO 3864-2:2016 includes two major changes to ISO label formats that require the attention of product manufacturers:

1. The safety label format that used a safety symbol without an ISO colored surround shape was removed from the standard. From the ISO 3864-2 standard’s perspective, product safety labels must use at least one ISO-formatted safety symbol in addition to the “general warning sign” that serves as the safety alert symbol on the label’s severity level panel. Symbols without ISO colored surround shapes can be used in addition to one or more ISO formatted symbols. Such symbols are called “supplementary safety symbols” by ISO.

2. A new “wordless” format that conveys risk severity was added to the standard. This new label format uses what ISO calls a “hazard severity panel” but no signal word. It communicates the level of risk through color-coding of the hazard severity panel. This format option eliminates words – making translations unnecessary.

“I had the privilege of attending the ISO/TC 145 standards meeting in Berlin when the final version of the new ISO 3864-2 standard was affirmed for publication, following several years of revision work,” says Angela Lambert, Director of Sales, Marketing and Standards Compliance at Clarion. “It was an exciting moment to be a part of. The changes made to labeling formats are significant, and it opens up new opportunities for product manufacturers to better warn people about hazards associated with their products.”

Clarion offers a variety of labels in line with the new ISO 3864-2:2016 standard, and has plans to expand its product line to offer the newly accepted formats to manufacturers. Additionally, the company offers safety label assessments. With these customized assessments, which are free to qualified organizations, Clarion uses its safety label expertise to assess labels and ensure they’re up-to-date and meet today’s requirements.

To learn more about Clarion’s safety label assessments, visit the company’s website. To learn more about how ISO uses symbols, vocabulary and color to standardize safety signage on a worldwide basis, watch Clarion’s short, educational video “ISO Symbols for Safety Signs and Labels.”

About Clarion Safety Systems
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

About ISO
ISO is an independent, non-governmental international organization with a membership of 161 national standards bodies. Through its members, it brings together experts to share knowledge and develop voluntary, consensus-based, market-relevant international standards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges. To learn more, visit

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Erin Earley
Clarion Safety Systems
+1 570-296-5686 Ext: 228
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