Safety Label Format Solutions for Solving Complex Messaging Challenges

Safety label on a roller conveyor
This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Safe­ty Labels

Safety Label Messaging Basics

Safe­ty label design fol­lows three prin­ci­ples:

  1. Iden­ti­fy the haz­ard
  2. Iden­ti­fy the like­ly degree of injury that could occur
  3. Instruct the read­er about ways to avoid injury

Design­ing warn­ings seems a sim­ple task. How­ev­er, users may not be Eng­lish speak­ing or lit­er­ate. Depend­ing on the juris­dic­tions where your prod­uct will be mar­ket­ed, like the EU, text may not be desir­able, so pic­to­graph­ic labels may be the most appro­pri­ate choice.

Complex Content

The con­tent for your prod­uct safe­ty label becomes com­plex when there are sev­er­al ele­ments involved in explain­ing what the haz­ard is and how to avoid it. But, with the lat­est update to ISO 3864–2 came a sig­nif­i­cant mod­i­fi­ca­tion to the stan­dard that pro­vides a solu­tion to con­sid­er in these sit­u­a­tions: the new “word­less” for­mat that con­veys risk sever­i­ty.

Example of the new “wordless” safety label format option allowed by ISO 3864-2:2016.
Exam­ple of the new “word­less” safe­ty label for­mat option allowed by ISO 3864–2:2016. (Label design ©Clar­i­on Safe­ty Sys­tems. All rights reserved.)

The word­less label for­mat uses what ISO calls a “haz­ard sever­i­ty pan­el” but no sig­nal word. In place of words, the lev­el of risk is com­mu­ni­cat­ed through colour-cod­ing of the haz­ard sever­i­ty pan­el. ISO-for­mat­ted sym­bols as well as what ISO calls “sup­ple­men­tary safe­ty sym­bols” – sym­bols with­out an ISO-col­ored sur­round shape – can be used.

Example: Grill Industry Safety Label

As an exam­ple, let’s look at a label design cre­at­ed here at Clar­i­on as part of Clarion’s work with ISO/TC 145.

When the bar­beque grill indus­try need­ed a safe­ty sym­bol that would warn peo­ple not to use grills in enclosed spaces, Clar­i­on vol­un­teered its design department’s skills to devel­op a new label design. The new label uses the ISO 3864–2:2016 word­less for­mat.

Example Grill Industry Wordless Safety Label
Exam­ple Grill Indus­try Word­less Safe­ty Label (Label design ©Clar­i­on Safe­ty Sys­tems. All rights reserved.)

The new safe­ty label design includes a haz­ard sever­i­ty lev­el pan­el at the top. Below the sever­i­ty label pan­el are five sym­bols: a safe­ty sym­bol that defines the nature of the haz­ard, and four “sup­ple­men­tary” safe­ty sym­bols. The sup­ple­men­tary sym­bols give instruc­tions about “mis­us­es” and “prop­er use” to help keep peo­ple safe. Much like the graph­i­cal instruc­tions used in air­craft emer­gency instruc­tions, the bar­beque grill prod­uct safe­ty label uses mul­ti­ple graph­ics in a pro­gres­sive­ly illus­trat­ed design to com­mu­ni­cate a com­plex mes­sage.

Learn More

There are mul­ti­ple for­mat options allowed by the ANSI and ISO stan­dards, and it’s impor­tant to under­stand your choic­es – like this word­less option – so you can make the best deci­sions for your prod­ucts or mar­ket. To learn more about how the word­less for­mat can help solve com­plex mes­sag­ing chal­lenges, you can read Clarion’s recent arti­cle on this blog and the fea­ture arti­cle in the Octo­ber 2017 issue of InCom­pli­ance Mag­a­zine.

Get Help

Unsure where to start? Clar­i­on is avail­able to help. For more infor­ma­tion on effec­tive prod­uct safe­ty label­ing and resources that you can put to use today, vis­it www.clarionsafety.com. Clar­i­on also offers com­pli­men­ta­ry safe­ty label assess­ments, where we use our expe­ri­ence with the lat­est stan­dards and best prac­tices to assess your labels and ensure that they’re up-to-date in meet­ing today’s require­ments.

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Acknowl­edge­ments: Clar­i­on Safe­ty Sys­tems, LLC
All Rights Reserved
Series Nav­i­ga­tionISO 3864–2″>Recent Changes to the Prod­uct Safe­ty Label Stan­dard ISO 3864–2

Author: Erin Earley

Erin Earley, head of communications at Clarion Safety Systems, shares her company’s passion for safer products and workplaces. She’s written extensively about best practices for product safety labels and facility safety signs. Clarion is a member of the ANSI Z535 Committee for Safety Signs and Colors, the U.S. TAG to ISO/TC 145, and the U.S. TAG to ISO 45001.