A New Symbol Is Being Standardized For Arc Flash – A Workplace Electrical Event That Can Cause Severe Injury And Death

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Electrical engineering professionals’ resource, In Compliance Magazine, features industry insight from Clarion Safety Systems on the latest developments in arc flash warnings and how to apply them to today’s safety signs and labels

Arc flash safety label from Clarion Safety Systems

Safety label using the new arc flash symbol (Label designs ©Clarion Safety Systems. All rights reserved.)

Incorporating the ISO symbol in safety label and sign designs will aid global acceptance and understanding of the new symbol, causing heightened awareness of potential arc flash hazards in the workplace.

Clarion Safety Systems, a leading designer and manufacturer of safety signs and safety labels, shares insight on the new, standardized symbol for arc flash hazards in the latest issue of In Compliance Magazine, a leading resource for electrical engineering professionals.

An arc flash, according to OSHA, is “a phenomenon where a flashover of electric current leaves its intended path and travels through the air from one conductor to another, or to ground. The results are often violent and when a human is in close proximity to the arc flash, serious injury and even death can occur.”

Along with understanding an arc flash’s potential hazards and calculating risk, using appropriate labeling on electrical equipment is critical. Proper safety labels allow workers to be more informed about risks and precautions to avoid arc flash incidents. Graphical symbols are an important part of product safety labels and workplace safety signs in order to effectively communicate safety messages. Symbols bring added noticeability to the safety label or sign, and help to communicate the message across language barriers.
Until very recently, according to Clarion’s July In Compliance article, there was no internationally standardized graphical symbol available for indicating arc flash explosion hazards. For years, the ISO 7010 symbol for “Warning; Electricity” has commonly been used for arc flash. That’s now changing.

ISO is in the process of registering a specific symbol meaning “To warn of an arc flash.” This new, standardized arc flash symbol was approved by ISO in December 2016 and will appear in an amendment to ISO 7010 Graphical symbols – Safety colours and safety signs – Registered safety signs.

According to the article, when it comes to communicating safety information on a product safety label or facility safety sign, the more specific to the situation the symbol can be, the better the chance of communicating the intended message to the intended audience.

“The new arc flash symbol better communicates the hazard at hand than the symbol for electricity or other similar symbols. It provides a clear distinction for arc flash hazards,” says Angela Lambert, Director of Standards Compliance at Clarion.

The article goes on to explain practical tips for engineers and other workplace safety professionals on how to apply the new symbol.

“At Clarion, we’ve updated our label and sign designs to use the newly standardized arc flash symbol. We strongly encourage our clients to replace existing labels and signs with ones that incorporate the new ISO symbol and to use only the new designs moving forward. This will aid global acceptance and understanding of the new symbol, causing heightened awareness of potential arc flash hazards in the workplace,” Lambert says.

In Compliance delivers the latest news, standards updates, technical explanations and guidance for engineers and Clarion provides insight for the magazine’s “On Your Mark” series. “On Your Mark” is a regular column that readers have enjoyed for six years running, discussing the best practices and cutting-edge trends in product safety labeling.

The full article is available through In Compliance Magazine’s website. To learn more about the latest developments in product safety labeling, visit Clarion’s online safety label Learning Center or watch its short, educational videos on “Effective Safety Symbols, Signs and Labels” and “ISO Symbols for Safety Signs and Labels.” Clarion also offers safety label assessments, where they work with companies to evaluate their labels, including reviewing the latest OSHA, ANSI and ISO standards.

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