Applied Safety + Ergonomics
Development and Objectives of ANSI Z535

Abstract

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z535 series of standards have evolved over time, and the history of this evolution provides insights into the purpose of the standards and how they became what they are today. The current set of five ANSI Z535 standards was first published as the 1991 version, and all five standards were updated again in 1998 and 2002. Prior to the 1991 edition of the standards, there were no ANSI standards solely addressing either safety symbols or safety signs and labels on products. The standards that did exist as precursors to the current Z535 standard addressed safety signs in industrial or occupational settings (Z535.1), safety colors (Z535.1), and accident prevention tags (Z535.2). These earlier standards, as well as the Z535 series of standards, focused on enhancing the uniformity of sign and label format so that users would be better able to (a) discriminate between safety and nonsafety information, and (b) identify degrees of hazard within safety-related signs or labels. The ANSI Z535 Committee has consistently reinforced and readopted these goals as the primary purpose of the standards. The development of the standards is discussed as well as benefits provided by enhanced sign and label uniformity.


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