Safety Label Format Solutions for Solving Complex Messaging Challenges

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
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