NEMA, NSC to Host Webinar on Safety/Warning Signage

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association and the National Safety Council will present a webinar on Oct. 21 at 10 a.m. CDT, to ensure that signal words and color combinations used in safety signs comply with OSHA regulations. The event, "How to Warn--An Overview of the ANSI Z535 Safety Standards to Meet OSHA Compliance," coincides with World Standards Week.

The one-hour Web-based seminar will address how the recognition and acceptance of ANSI Z535 standards can help prevent injuries. Each of the six standards within the ANSI Z535 series has unique properties that can be used to alert people to hazards in the workplace and at home, NEMA said. Participants will learn how to effectively warn against potential hazards according to the level of risk in particular safety situations by applying the ANSI Z535 safety standards.

Gary Bell, chairman of the ANSI Z535 executive committee and product safety manager for the Sauder Woodworking Company, will lead the event. "When situations arise in which there is a need for safety signs, labels, symbols, or instructional messages, the ANSI Z535 standards should always be used for determining proper visual layout," he says. "This webinar will address how the recognition and acceptance of the ANSI Z535 standards can help prevent injuries."

Bell notes that each ANSI Z535 standard addresses a unique safety property: safety colors; environmental facility and safety signs; criteria for safety symbols; product safety signs and labels; safety tags and barricade tapes for temporary hazards; and product safety information in product manuals, instructions, and other collateral materials. The series details the use of proper signal words, print layout, and language to aid in sufficiently warning against injurious situations. This is particularly important in multi-language and multi-cultural environments. The ANSI Z535 Color Chart provides precise ink color specifications for each hazard potential.

"Designing and using the correct safety sign, label, or tag is a lot like winning the Miss America pageant," Bell says. "In the pageant there are two distinct elements that are both important but independent of each other--looks and brains. Similarly, in the design of an effective safety sign, the looks, that is, the conspicuity, language level, correct use of colors and symbols, and consistent format, play an equal role with the brains, that is, the content."

Bell has developed and implemented policies and procedures for product safety and liability prevention for manufacturers of consumer, industrial, and medical products for more than 25 years. In addition to serving as chair of the ANSI Z535 Accredited Standards Committee, he also serves as chair of the ANSI/SOHO S6.5 Committee on testing for small office/home office furniture. Bell is a certified quality engineer, a certified product safety manager (executive level), and a certified safety specialist.

"Participants will learn how to ensure that signal word and color combinations used on safety signs are in agreement with the level of risk in the particular safety situation," he said. "If safety is your job, learn to warn effectively." To learn more or to register, visit www.nema.org/events/ANSI-Z535.cfm. Registrants are eligible for a 15 percent discount on ANSI Z535 standards from October 14 through October 28, 2009.

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