Safety Communication Update Released By Clarion Safety Systems Following Latest International Standards Meetings

ISO symbols

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Examples of ISO or ISO-formatted symbols often used in product safety labels and facility safety signs

As a company, Clarion's passion for safety fuels everything we do – whether it’s helping to solve our customers’ communication challenges or working with the other members of ISO/TC 145 to develop and maintain safety standards.

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Clarion Safety Systems, a leading designer and manufacturer of safety signs and safety labels, is pleased to share insight on visual safety communication following recent international standards meetings.

The preeminent standards bodies responsible for safety sign and label standards are the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) domestically and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) internationally. Clarion is a longtime and active leader of these groups. The company’s founder, Geoffrey Peckham, is chair of the ANSI Z535 Committee for Safety Signs and Colors and chair of ISO/TC 145, the international standards committee responsible for safety signs, labels, colors and symbols. In addition, Angela Lambert, Clarion’s Director of Sales, Marketing and Standards Compliance, is a member of both of these ANSI and ISO standards bodies.

“As a company, our passion for safety fuels everything we do – whether it’s helping to solve our customers’ communication challenges or working with the other members of ISO/TC 145 to develop and maintain safety standards,” says Lambert.

ISO/TC 145 standardizes the symbols that appear on products and in man-made environments. This includes the symbols the public sees on a daily basis (such as the controls for headlights in cars), as well as the symbols on signs and labels in workplaces that help keep employees, contractors and visitors safe (such as warnings to wear a specific kind of personal protective equipment, like respiratory protection).

ISO/TC 145’s subcommittee 2, which focuses on safety identification, signs, shapes, symbols and colors, held its working group 1 (WG 1) meetings in November 2017 in Paris, France. The main task of WG 1 is the registration of standardized safety symbols that are meant to visually convey to viewers the nature of hazards and how to avoid them.

November’s meetings centered on:

  • New safety symbol proposals, including:
  • Continued discussions on an application from the battery industry for a symbol meaning “Keep out of reach of children.” The industry’s need comes from a serious safety issue related to children swallowing small circular lithium disk batteries. A safety message on the batteries and their packaging could create awareness to help prevent future accidents from occurring. The experts of WG 1 discussed the type of message needed in line with the target audience (adults versus children) and next steps for the application.
  • Assessment of a series of applications from the China National Institute of Standardization related to safety symbols to warn about stepping up and down, jumping, and falling into water – among others.
  • An application from the ISO technical committee focusing on lifts, escalators and moving walks for symbols to use within elevators meaning “Warning; Crushing.” These symbols have been standardized to the lift/elevator industry, but are not consistent with ISO design principles. Symbol philosophy and the fact that a standardized ISO 7010 symbol for “Warning; Crushing” already exists were discussed, with the experts determining that the applicant should reconsider its symbols and use supplementary symbols – which don’t require ISO registration – to convey additional intended messages.
  • Criteria for elaborating/submitting a new safety symbol proposal, with the experts discussing content and the process to help guide users as they find or create new safety symbols or fill out application forms for ISO/TC 145’s review.
  • Discussions on a working draft for ISO/Technical Report 20559, Graphical Symbols – Safety colours and safety signs – Code of practice for use of safety signs, an informative guidance document for best practices in the design and installation of safety sign systems. The differences between this technical report and an international standard were debated, as well as key content issues that had been identified.
  • Safety-related graphical symbols registered in IEC 60417, which is a collection of graphical symbols for use on equipment. The dialog centered around a request to register a list of symbols and determining which of the symbols were in fact safety-related (falling under WG 1’s scope), which of the symbols have already been standardized in ISO 7010, and which will need to go through the application process with WG 1. Next steps for the safety symbols that have not been registered yet to ISO 7010 will be discussed at the next WG 1 meeting.

“This is challenging work, as there are many different perspectives and nuances – related to a specific industry, culture or even another standard’s body – to take into consideration involving the development of new symbols for our stakeholders,” says Lambert.

“At the same time, it’s exciting and extremely rewarding to be part of these efforts that will help to shape safety communication, eventually affecting people’s daily lives, all around the world. I look forward to continuing our discussions and progress on these key topics over the coming months, and at the next WG 1 meeting this Spring.”

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.”

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

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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