RE: ANSI standards for safety symbols and signal words in documentation

Subject: RE: ANSI standards for safety symbols and signal words in documentation
From: "Klasovsky, Nick" <nklasovsky -at- nordson -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 6 Feb 2008 08:50:44 -0500

ANSI has published a standard for safety messages and symbols for

ANSI Z535.6-2006 American National Standard for Product Safety
Information in Product Manuals, Instructions, and Other Collateral

Unlike previous standards which really only applied to labels affixed to
equipment, this one applies to documentation such as manuals,
instruction sheets, and operator cards.

The standard is somewhat overlapping in that it recommends using the
word NOTICE or CAUTION for situations not likely to result in personal
injury, but also says that CAUTION can be used for situations that may
result in minor injury.

The standard recommends using the signal words WARNING or DANGER for
situations that may result in serious injury or death, but that DANGER
should be reserved for the most hazardous situations.

We use the following:

Exclamation symbol and signal word CAUTION for situations that could
result in equipment damage only, like putting something back together
wrong so that on startup the equipment breaks or shorts out without
creating a hazard for the operator. Mainly used for remotely operated

Exclamation symbol and signal word WARNING for situations that could
result in personal injury, including death.

We do not distinguish between minor injury and major injury, because we
don't want that fine a granularity, nor do we think it necessary. A
situation could cause a minor injury in one case and a major injury in

Most of our products are FM (Factory Mutual) and CE approved, which
requires submitting the customer manuals and instructions along with the
products to the approval agencies. We have yet to be asked to change the
way we use the symbols and signal words.

Hope this helps,
Nick Klasovsky
Senior Technical Writer
Industrial Coatings
Nordson Corporation
Amherst, OH 44001
nklasovsky -at- nordson -dot- com

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