A Quick Primer on Warning Labels and Signs

Even when appropriate design features and safety devices are incorporated into machinery, some residual risks may remain. Safety labels alert operators or other exposed people to these residual risks, instruct them on how to avoid the hazard, inform of the consequence of interaction with the hazard, and/or conveys the severity of the hazard.

OSHA regulates the use of Safety Warning Labels, Signs and Tags. These regulations can be found in CFR 1910.145. One important regulations is:

OSHA CFR 1910.145(f)(3): Tags shall be used as a means to prevent accidental injury or illness to employees who are exposed to hazardous or potentially hazardous conditions, equipment or operations which are out of the ordinary, unexpected or not readily apparent. Tags shall be used until such time as the identified hazard is eliminated or the hazardous operation is completed. Tags need not be used where signs, guarding or other positive means of protection are being used.

Location of Safety Labels
The Safety Warning Labels should be located in close proximity to the hazard, where it can be readily seen by the affected employee:

OSHA CFR 1910.145(f)(4)(vi) Tags shall be affixed as close as safely possible to their respective hazards by a positive means such as string, wire, or adhesive that prevents their loss or unintentional removal.

ANSI Z535.4  9.1 Location Product Safety signs and labels shall be placed such that they will: (1) be readily visible to the intended viewer and (2) alert the viewer to the potential hazard in time to take appropriate action.


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