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OSHA Update to Regulations for Workplace Safety Signage

Posted by Erin Earley on 13th Jun 2013

This past April, we shared news on an important change when it comes to improving workplace safety: the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) proposed a consensus standard update to rules on signage, an issue spearheaded here at Clarion Safety Systems.

We're pleased to give you an exciting new update: OSHA has now issued a Direct Final Rule (DFR) on the proposed update to its regulations on signage. If no significant adverse public comments on the DFR are received by July 15, 2013, the agency's next steps will be to confirm the effective date of the rule.

What exactly is the change? OSHA is updating its safety sign and tag regulations to warnings best practices to be used to fulfill OSHA compliance requirements. OSHA's current safety sign and tag regulations are based on outdated formats (antiquated, 70-year-old standards); it plans to integrate the latest state-of-the-art warnings technology – the 2011 ANSI Z535 standards – into its own safety sign and tag regulations. The goal of the update is to improve workplace safety by allowing employers to use the ANSI Z535 standards, which better communicate safety in the workplace. See the image, below, for a look at how signage using the new ANSI standards better communicates safety.

Old and New Safety Signs

Currently, organizations that use ANSI Z535-style signs or tags run the risk of being cited for an OSHA violation. This is because OSHA only references outdated, 1967 and 1968 standards. Called a de minimus violation, this is a barrier for employers who want to modernize their signage. OSHAs regulation update will do away with this de minimus situation, allowing employers to use the ANSI Z535 standards without the possibility of a citation.

Where can you learn more about this change, why it's important, and how it affects workplace safety and health? We have a number of resources available to help, including:

  • A page available in our website's "Learning Center" with information and resources to learn more about the OSHA change.
  • An issue brief document explaining the standards change, background information, Clarion's involvement and our position.
  • An FAQ document to provide more detailed answers to commonly asked questions regarding the standards change.

Have a question about safety sign standards and best practices in use at your facility? Contact us today!

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