Administered and published by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), the ANSI Z535 standards are an American system for presenting safety and accident prevention information. The ANSI Z535 committee develops the standards, which are accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
ANSI Z535 corresponds to the international ISO 3864 standard and is comprised of six individual standards: ANSI Z535.1 American National Standard for Safety Colors, ANSI Z535.2 American National Standard for Environmental and Facility Safety Signs, ANSI Z535.3 American National Standard for Criteria for Safety Symbols, ANSI Z535.4 American National Standard for Product Safety Signs and Labels, ANSI Z535.5 American National Standard for Safety Tags and Barricade Tapes (for Temporary Hazards), and ANSI Z535.6 American National Standard for Product Safety Information in Product Manuals, Instructions, and Other Collateral Materials.
Product manufacturers and facility owners across a range of industries use the ANSI Z535 standards to create safer workplaces and safe usage of their products. They rely on the standards to know exactly how to label their materials to convey safety messages to users to protect them from injury. Indeed, the standards provide them with the necessary guidance for conveying visual safety messages so as to make them stand out from other types of information. Of course, the more durable the signage, the better it is for compliance.
To help you navigate the ANSI Z535 standards and understand your responsibilities with them, we have rounded up 50 of the top resources on all six standards and the color charts. Our resources come from experts and industry leaders. The following articles, blogs, books, forums, guides, and other resources cover the standards for a range of industries and applications. We have categorized our resources and then alphabetized them to simplify your search process.
Joel Bradbury’s Industrial Maintenance & Plant Operation (IMPO) Magazine article explores solar labeling standards changes that take effect in 2017. One major change involves the label design for solidly grounded bipolar systems, which must state, “The Disconnection of the Grounded Conductor(s) May Result in Overvoltage on the Equipment” and conform to ANSI Z535.4-2011.
Three key points from 2017 Brings Changes to Solar Labeling:
Published by NEMA, ei is the magazine of the electroindustry. Readers who scroll to page 41 will find A Brief History of the ANSI 535 Standards, an article written by Geoffrey Peckham, chair of the ANSI Z535 committee. The article provides a brief overview of the standards and includes images of sample safety tags.
Three key points from A Brief History of the ANSI Z535 Standards:
Holland & Knight provides legal representation in litigation, business, real estate, and government law. Their ANSI Z535 article is written by Dr. Nathan Dorris, a principal consultant at Dorris and Associates, Inc., which has been a leading provider of human factors, ergonomics, and safety consulting services for more than 25 years.
Three key points from A Human Factors Perspective on ANSI Z535.6:
Electrical Contractor (EC) is the electrical industry’s leading magazine. Jim Phillips’ EC article on ANSI Z535.4 and arc flash labels reminds readers that even though arc flash labels are addressed in NFPA 70E and NFPA 70, additional guidance is provided by ANSI Z535.4. The standardized approach to arc flash labels significantly reduces confusion regarding important safety information for electrical hazards.
Three key points from Additional Guidance: ANSI Z535.4 and Arc Flash Labels:
Performance Industrial is a leading provider of commercial and industrial cleaning, painting, HVAC, kitchen exhaust cleaning, and epoxy flooring services. Their expert article explores a question that many warehouse and manufacturing leaders have: which safety paint colors are correct?
Three key points from ANSI vs. OSHA, Which Safety Paint Colors Do I Use?:
Legal expert Malcolm Abbott provides a comprehensive overview of the ANSI Z535 standards in his Medium article. The article also includes images detailing the differences between the format of signs following the ANSI Z535.2 standard and the traditional OSHA format.
Three key points from The ANSI Z535 Standards and Their Scope:
Available via SAGE Journals, ANSI Z535.6 and Conspicuity considers whether adhering to the formatting guidelines reduces injuries. The study measures real-world behavior and laboratory behavior to come to the conclusion that ANSI formatting increases the likelihood that people will recognize a safety warning.
Three key points from ANSI Z535.6 and Conspicuity: A Test of the New State of the Art Format for Instructions:
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TechComm expert Ferry Vermeulen is founder and business development director of INSTRKTIV. The company focuses on creating high-quality manuals that are useable and serve as a legal document to promote safety and proper use. Vermeulen shares this article on ANSI Z535.6 to detail how to create compliant manuals for products used and sold in the United States.
Three key points from The ANSI Z535.6 and How to Create Compliant Manuals for the US:
The American National Standards Institute’s blog features the latest headlines and news concerning standards and compliance, including the Z535 standards. Blog visitors can search the archives for specific Z535 standards or information on the standards in general.
Three key posts from ANSI.org Blog – Latest Headlines:
The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) works together for a safer, stronger future. Their ANSI Z535 article, written by ASSE member Geoffrey Peckham, examines the possibility of achieving better safety communication in the construction industry via new silica hazard safety signs that comply with ANSI Z535 safety sign standards and semiotics.
Three key points from Applied Semiotics Communicating Silica Hazards Using New Best Practice Safety Sign Standards:
Law360 is a newswire for business lawyers that provides nonstop coverage of high-stakes litigation every business day. Their Changing Standards In Safety article provides expert analysis on the legal implications of ANSI Z535.6, because it is the first standard to provide guidance for manufacturers who draft safety information in manuals, instruction booklets, and other materials.
Three key points from Changing Standards In Safety:
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IEEE Xplore is a digital library that delivers full-text access to the world’s highest quality technical literature in electrical engineering, computer science, and electronics. Members and organizations can subscribe to IEE Xplore for access to trusted research in journals, conferences, standards, eBooks, and more, such as Geoffrey Peckham’s Choosing the Right Product Safety Label Formats: A Critical Decision for Product Safety Engineers.
Three key points from Choosing the Right Product Safety Label Formats: A Critical Decision for Product Safety Engineers:
Iowa State University student Rachel Roe’s scholarly paper examines extending ANSI Z535 standards to a broader range of professional communication settings. The paper includes a literature review of current safety warning message design standards and general design principles and an analysis of safety warning messages from owner’s manuals.
Three key points from Design Standards for Safety Warning Messages in Manuals: Increasing Design Saliency and Adapting for a Broader Range of Professional Communication Settings:
After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) put forth pictorial safety symbols to educate the public and enhance emergency preparedness. Authors Christopher B. Mayhorn, Michael S. Wogalter, and Jennifer L. Bell explore the efficacy of the DHS system in comparison with the ANSI Z535 standards.
Three key points from Homeland Security Safety Symbols: Are We Ready?:
In his EC Magazine article, Jim Phillips acknowledges that determining which color to make arc flash warning labels is a good question with more than one possible answer. As Phillips points out, ANSI Z535.4 includes definitions of “danger,” “warning,” and “caution,” or signal words. The standard states that each word has an appropriate color which is why there is confusion about the correct answer.
Three key points from It’s a Gray Area: Arc Flash Label Colors:
Incident Prevention Magazine is a leading safety publication for the utility, municipality, and communications industry. Allen L. Clapp’s Incident Prevention article highlights a few key changes in the ANSI Z535 standards and includes a detailed comparison of ANSI Z535.2, Z535.4, Z535.5, and Z535.6 in relation to signal words.
Three key points from NESC and ANSI Z535 Safety Sign Standards for Electric Utility Power Plants and Substations:
New Editions of ANSI Standards for Warnings is a scholarly paper made available by IEEE Xplore digital library. The paper outlines changes made to the ANSI Z535 standards in 2011, including creating a new signal word category for safety instructions, a new definition of the signal word “notice,” and more.
Three key points from New Editions of ANSI Standards for Warnings:
The Law Offices of Robert J. McGuirl examines how changing ANSI Z535 standards affect manufacturers in this article. Specifically, the article discusses how ANSI Z535.4 failed to provide guidelines for collateral materials and how ANSI Z535.6 fills in the gaps.
Three key points from New Standard Causes Manufacturers to Review Product Manuals and Instruction Sheets:
Steve Nichol, CEO of Technical Publication Associates, Inc., is an industrial product marketing documentation specialist who shares his knowledge of ANSI Z535 in this article via LinkedIn. The article is part of a series on the ANSI Z535 safety standards and provides a thorough overview of them.
Three key points from Safety Signs 102 – ANSI Z535 Standards Overview:
The International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI) plays a cohesive role among electrical inspectors, testing agencies, standards organizations, manufacturers, distributors, and contractors. David Young’s IAEI article provides a brief explanation of ANSI Z535 and examines how the National Electrical Safety Codes (NESC) reference the ANSI standards.
Three key points from Safety Signs, Labels and Tags:
Quality Digest promotes continuous improvement in quality management, manufacturing, test and measurement, healthcare, supply chains, and services. Their article on safety symbols reminds readers that safety signs and labels should be consistent and contain bold graphics to warn people against hazards that could cause personal injury.
Three key points from Safety Symbols Revised:
Michael Johnston’s EC Magazine article examines the requirements put into place by the 201 National electoral Code (NEC) for field-applied hazard warning markings, signs, and labels. Johnson also explains when to use the NEC rules, OSHA signal words, and ANSI Z535.4 guidelines for developing safety signs and labels for electrical equipment.
Three key points from Signal Words: Field-Applied Hazard Markings and the NEC:
An article featuring links to NEMA podcasts on the ANSI Z535 standards, The Significance of Product Safety Signs and Labels in ANSI Z535 also provides an introduction and overview of the standards. Author Brad Kelechava also provides a brief history of the standards.
Three key points from The Significance of Product Safety Signs and Labels in ANSI Z535:
Product Liability Prevention is a website established and maintained by Kenneth Ross, a leading practitioner in PLP. Ross’s PLP article, Updated Standards: More Guidance for Warnings and Instructions, examines how the ANSI Z535 standards have provided manufacturers with guidance for creating safety labels.
Three key points from Updated Standards: More Guidance for Warnings and Instructions:
ASQ is a global knowledge network linking the best ideas, tools, and experts. Their article explains the role and mission of the American National Standards Institute and gives readers a better understanding of the organization that develops the Z535 standards.
Three key points from What is ANSI? :
Technical writer and engineer Tamara White guides readers through the ANSI Z535 standards in her HubPages article. White covers all six standards and the safety color code in addition to safety sign formats and related standards.
Three key points from What is ANSI Z535?:
Available as an eBook, Gabriel Salvendy’s Handbook of Human Factors and Ergonomics is 1752 pages in length. The fourth edition has been totally revised and updated and includes new chapters on topics including user requirements and managing low-back disorder risk in the workplace.
Three key topics from Handbook of Human Factors and Ergonomics:
Edited by Alison Black, Paul Luna, Ole Lund, and Sue Walker, and including a foreword by Erik Spiekermann, Information Design: Research and Practice combines theory and methods with case studies from leading information designers in professional practice. The illustrations provide references for people who design documents, signs, and other materials that need to comply with ANSI Z535.
Three key topics from Information Design: Research and Practice:
A three-volume set, International Encyclopedia of Ergonomics and Human Factors is available in its second edition. Edited by human factors and ergonomics expert Professor Waldemar Karwowski, this book is intended for ergonomics professionals. It is of special interest to those who need to understand how humans interact with safety systems guided by ANSI Z535 standards.
Three key topics from International Encyclopedia of Ergonomics and Human Factors:
Edited by Waldemar Karwowski and William S. Marras, Occupational Ergonomics: Principles of Work Design is divided into two parts and covers background for the profession of ergonomics and the foundations of ergonomics knowledge. The book focuses on ergonomics of system design.
Three key topics from Occupational Ergonomics: Principles of Work Design:
Arc Flash Forum is a global community for all arc flash and electrical safety discussions. Their ANSI Z535 discussion thread centers on words, colors, and symbols for signs and labels that warn about electrical hazards.
Three key points from ANSI Z535 – Series of Standards for Safety Signs and Tags:
A discussion thread featuring more than 20 replies, ANSI Z535.1 Safety Colors in Frame considers which colors should be used in materials that are available to the public from a random PDF viewer or color printer. The thread also points to questions about values and colors to be used for ISO 3864-1.
Three key points from ANSI Z535.1 Safety Colors in Frame:
Autodesk is 3D design, engineering, and entertainment software and services. Their AutoCAD Electrical Forum invites participants to share their knowledge, ask questions, and explore popular topics. This ANSI Z535 discussion thread explores questions from users who are confused about which symbols to use to maintain compliance.
Three key points from ANSI Z535.4 &(or) ISO3864 Graphical Symbol Library?:
Published by NEMA and made available online by Davis Associates, Inc., this general information resource includes a foreword explaining the evolution of the ANSI Z535 standards and an in-depth look at ANSI Z535.4.
Three key points from American National Standard for Product Safety Signs and Labels:
SearchDataCenter.com is TechTarget’s data center management resource for design, infrastructure and operations, energy efficiency, disaster recovery, and more. Margaret Rouse’s SearchDataCenter resource, ANSI (American National Standards Institute), explains that ANSI works with industry groups and is a member of the ISO and International Electrotechincal Commission (IEC).
Three key features of ANSI (American National Standards Institute):
SafetyHow is an internet-based community centering on safety. Their ANSI Z535 & ISO Safety Symbols is a general resource that details the use of safety symbols to ensure compliance. The resource also covers the four types of safety symbols identified by ANSI Z535.5.
Three key points from ANSI Z535 & ISO Safety Symbols:
The ANSI Z535 Color Chart and standards are the focus of this general resource from the National Electrical Manufacturers Association. The resource includes links to each standard and the color chart for quick, easy reference.
Three key points from ANSI Z535 Brief Description of All Six Standards and Safety Color Chart:
Document Center, Inc. is home to standards library experts. As such, they announced the 2011 updates to the ANSI Z535 standards and provided an overview of the updates ahead of their release. This resource is a useful source of information about the standards and provides a thorough overview of the changes made to each standard.
Three key points from New ANSI Z535 Series 2011 Editions for Safety Signs, Symbols, Labels and Tags is Due to be Released:
Technical Publication Associates, Inc. CEO Steve Nichol produced a series of resources and articles explaining the ANSI Z535 standards. Safety Signs 101 is the first of that series and provides an introduction and overview of the Z535 standards.
Three key points from Safety Signs 101 – Looking at ANSI Z535 Safety Alerting Standards:
ANSI provides Silently Guiding Safety: American National Standards for Safety Signs and Colors, a resource that will help guide manufacturers and other professionals in communicating safety information using the ANSI Z535 standards. The resource also includes links to previous standards and their revisions to provide a thorough overview to users.
Three key features of Silently Guiding Safety: American National Standards for Safety Signs and Colors:
In this ANSI Z535.6 resource, Applied Safety and Ergonomics, Inc. provides information on the most recently added Z535 standard. The authors explain the need for the new standard and highlight its scope and components throughout the resource.
Three key points from Update on ANSI Z535.6:
This ANSI resource serves as a guide for complying with ANSI Z535.2 when creating and using environmental and facility safety signs. It provides an overview of safety symbols and safety colors and includes guidelines for the application of the standard.
Three key points from American National Standard Environmental and Facility Safety Signs:
Scribd provides access to books, audiobooks, news, and magazines. It also provides access to guides such as American National Standard for Safety Color Code, which centers on ANSI Z535.1.
Three key points from American National Standard For Safety Color Code:
Manufacturers, facility managers, and others who want to ensure compliance with the ANSI Z535 standards find it challenging to comply with the Z535 Safety Color Chart when the colors printed in some publications and viewed online may not be accurate. ANSI encourages the use of its color chart to ensure compliance.
Three key features of ANSI Z535 Color Chart:
Techstreet offers its ANSI Z535 Color Chart for purchase by individuals or organizations that need to comply with the ANSI Z535 safety colors. The chart applies to all six standards and provides printed examples of all safety colors.
Three key features of ANSI Z535 Color Chart:
The Army Publishing Directorate (APD) published this unclassified guide for safety colors, signs, tags, and markings to ensure compliance and consistency for Army installations, facilities, and operations. The guide also establishes Army criteria for safety colors that will inform people of appropriate safety precautions to take in the presence of hazards.
Three key points from Army Guidelines for Safety Color Codes, Signs, Tags, and Markings:
The American Welding Society (AWS) advances the science, technology, and application of welding and allied joining and cutting processes around the globe. Their Safety and Health Fact Sheet No. 14 serves as a guide for creating and using graphic symbols for precautionary labels.
Three key points from Graphic Symbols for Precautionary Labels:
Metalphoto of Cincinnati (MPC) is a leading manufacturer of custom nameplates, panel faceplates, overlays, labels, and signs. Their Material Selection Guide emphasizes the need for durable, custom safety signs to maintain compliance with ANSI Z535.
Three key points from Material Selection Guide:
Engineering360 is a popular online destination for engineers that delivers critical analysis, information, tools, product research, and community. They offer the NEMA/ANSI Z535.3 standard for individual purchase. This guide explicitly states general criteria for designing, evaluating, and using safety symbols for identifying and warning against specific hazards.
Three key features of Standard: NEMA – ANSI Z535.3 Criteria for Safety Symbols:
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) publishes standards and requests comments on proposed rule making. Their document, Updating OSHA Standards Based on National Consensus Standards; Signage, serves as a guide for employers to the proposed updates to align with the ANSI Z353 standards.
Three key points from Updating OSHA Standards Based on National Consensus Standards; Signage: