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Why Safety Colors – and ANSI Z535.1 – Matter

Posted by Clarion Safety Systems | 13th Jul 2023

The colors used in your safety labels and safety signs are one of their building block components. To use them effectively in your warnings and instructions – and to implement them in line with today’s best practices – one specific standard stands out: ANSI Z535.1. Keep reading to learn more about how to use safety colors across your machinery and workplace in line with ANSI Z535.1, straight from your team of experts at Clarion Safety!

What is ANSI Z535.1?
ANSI Z535.1 is an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard that provides guidelines for the use of colors in safety signs, labels, tags, and markings to communicate hazards and safety information. It establishes a set of color codes and specifications that help convey safety messages clearly and consistently across different industries and applications.

Why Do Safety Colors Matter?
“Effectively communicating hazards is vital for safety. The use of color can help with comprehension and understanding of safety messages, but it has to be very specifically defined. The orange used in a warning label’s signal word panel has to look like orange. It can’t look like ‘yellowish orange’ or ‘reddish orange’. It’s important to avoid, at a glance, having that color be confused with yellow (which is used in signal word panels for caution situations) or red (which is used in a signal word panel for danger situations),” says Angela Lambert, our head of standards compliance at Clarion Safety Systems.

“ANSI Z535.1 safety colors are tightly defined and should be adhered to for proper color discrimination or color coding. The science behind colors and color stability are an important part of effective communication on equipment safety labels and facility safety signs.”

Clarion Safety’s Color Theory Expertise
In addition to working hand in hand on a daily basis with our clients to help implement best practice warnings, you may be familiar with Clarion Safety’s involvement with the best practice (U.S.) ANSI and (international) ISO standards related to visual safety communication. When it comes to color, we have a leadership role in paving the way for continued growth and standardization. Angela Lambert, our head of standards compliance here at Clarion Safety, is the chair of the ANSI Z535.1 subcommittee, in addition to being a delegate representative to the ANSI Z535 committee, and a delegate representative to ANSI for the ISO/TC 145 SC2 WG 1 committee.

Our Safety Color Resources
We not only help lead the standards you want to meet; we’re committed to helping you stay informed ontoday’s visual safety communication best practices, including ANSI Z535 and ISO 3864-2. Here are our current color and ANSI-specific resources available to help:

Here to Help with Your Specific Warnings Needs
Enjoy our safety resources – and know that we’re here to help at any time with your specific needs! At Clarion Safety, we focus on a hands-on approach to guide our customers to safety sign and label choices in line with their needs AND the latest standards. Our customer service team is "Clarion Essentials" certified, a proprietary, standards-based education curriculum. That means that our staff members are trained and ready to work together with you – whether you’re ready to customize a label or sign product or are looking to start with a free safety label or sign assessment.

Have a question on how to best apply color and color theories to your warnings and instructions? Reach out to us today.

Online Quote Request Options

Need a quote for our sign, label and tag products? Our customer service team is standing by to hear from you via phone, online chat or email! For your convenience, we also have two options you can use to submit your request quickly and easily online:

Option 1: Cart-to-quote Tool

Generate a quote for all of the items in your shopping cart. Simply add items to your online shopping cart and then click the "Get Quote for Cart Items" button in the cart preview dropdown or at the bottom of the cart page.

This option works great for both standard and custom products that are available for purchase on our website.

Option 2: Quote Request Form

Request a quote by typing in the product part number(s) or a description of the custom part(s). You can also upload RFQ-related documentation, such as a drawings and specification sheets.

This option works great for products not available for purchase on our website and for complex quotes.