The role of the safety signs is to provide visual warning and to indicate potential imminent danger in and understandable and unambiguous manner. In case of misinterpretation of their message, serious consequences can occur and that is why it is of great importance that they are clearly and precisely determined.
There are a number of internationally agreed standards regarding safety signs, which define the essential characteristics and thus ensure their recognizability. Each organization has the task of ensuring the proper use of these signs within the program of reducing risks and increasing the safety of employees.
In order to assist organizations in this process, ISO/TS 20559, Graphical symbols — Safety colours and safety signs — Guidance for the development and use of a safety signing system, was recently published. This document contains recommendations and explanations on the practical application of safety signs and can be used as a useful guide to form a system of communication intended to reduce risk.
ISO/TS 20559 includes all kinds of signs – from the product labels to signs on evacuation routes and marking equipment, as well as the information on their placement, instructions for understanding etc. This document serves to complement the basic standards for safety signs: the ISO 3864 series, ISO 7010, ISO 16069, ISO 23601 and ISO 17398. These international standards apply to the design principles, graphic symbols and colours used on safety signs. In addition, the new guidance represents the supplement to the most well-known standard for occupational safety and health management systems, SRPS ISO 45001.