Steering clear of danger

New guidance for the effective use of safety signs just published

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Por Clare Naden
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Imagine a world where safety signs were confusing. From skidding across freshly cleaned floors to tragic accidents on construction sites, misunderstood safety signs are a recipe for disaster.

While there are a number of internationally agreed standards for safety signs, ensuring they are part of an organisation's risk reduction programme is another affair.

The newly published ISO/TS 20559, Graphical symbols — Safety colours and safety signs — Guidance for the development and use of a safety signing system is aimed at assisting organizations do just that, by putting some order and clarity into the process.

It contains recommendations and explanations on the practical application of safety signs to form a system of communication that is intended to reduce risk.

The guidance serves to complement the main internationally-agreed standards for safety signs:

  • The ISO 3864 series that covers design principles;
  • ISO 7010, Graphical symbols — Safety colours and safety signs — Registered safety signs;
  • ISO 16069, Graphical symbols — Safety signs — Safety way guidance systems (SWGS);
  • ISO 23601, Safety identification — Escape and evacuation plan signs; and
  • ISO 17398, Safety colours and safety signs — Classification, performance and durability of safety signs.

It also complements ISO 45001, Occupational health and safety management systems Requirements with guidance for use.

ISO/TS 20559 covers all kinds of signs, from product labels to signage on evacuation routes and equipment marking as well as comprehension training, where to put the signs and more.

It was developed by subcommittee 2 Safety identification, shapes, symbols and colours of technical committee ISO/TC 145, Graphical symbols. The secretariat of ISO/TC 145/SC 2 is held by DIN, ISO's member for Germany.

All of these standards can be purchased by your national ISO member or the ISO Store.

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