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Have you read/own a copy of ANSI Z535.4 Product Safety Signs and Labels?
Yes – BOTH - I have a copy and read it
Yes – I read it but do not have a copy
Yes – I have read it but don’t have a copy
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 Post subject: Have you read/do you own a copy of ANSI Z535?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2017 1:07 pm 
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A post about ANSI Z535 made this past week prompted this week's Question of the Week.

110.16 Arc-Flash Hazard Warning Information Note 2 in the 2017 Edition of the US National Electrical Code – NFPA 70 references ANSI Z535.4-2011 as follows:

Informational Note No. 2: ANSI Z535.4-2011, Product Safety Signs and Labels, provides guidelines for the design of safety signs and labels for application to products. This standard provides guidance for the use of the signal words Caution, Warning and Danger as well as colors and other requirements.

Here is this week’s question:

Have you read/own a copy of ANSI Z535.4 Product Safety Signs and Labels?
Yes – BOTH - I have a copy and read it
Yes – I read it but do not have a copy
Yes – I have read it but don’t have a copy
No


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 Post subject: Re: Have you read/do you own a copy of ANSI Z535?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 6:15 am 
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Hi Jim

I have read the standard however do not have a copy ANSI Z535. I probably should get a copy. We have the same rule up here in Canada under the CEC Part 1. Rule 2-306. This actually was adopted by the committee from the NEC back I believe in 2006


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 Post subject: Re: Have you read/do you own a copy of ANSI Z535?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 10:35 am 
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There are three critical aspects of ANSI Z535 that affect most of the electrical labeling out there:

1. The signal words (DANGER, WARNING, etc.) are standardized and when they should be applied is standardized. As an example DANGER only applies when there is an imminent danger of a fatality or a life altering injury. It would be appropriate to put it on the doors of say a medium voltage enclosed fused switch where there is open connections and bus work inside but it is completely inappropriate and a Code violation of Z535 to put DANGER signs on the door or fencing around the same equipment because there is no such hazard from entering the fence or opening the door. Where this would actually be useful in a 70E context is that it makes it possible for employees to easily discern when shock protection PPE would need to be worn before opening a door as opposed to now where it is completely unknown whether or not there is exposed equipment (not insulated or guarded) inside a panel. The correct word is DANGER. This word should also not be used at all for arc flash hazards because the likelihood is not "imminent" (they are rare) and the likelihood of a fatality is also pretty low even though the next lower injury class (burns requiring hospitalization) puts it into the "WARNING" category.
2. The wording should identify both the hazard and what action should be taken to avoid it. Signs that say things like "HIGH VOLTAGE -- KEEP OUT" really don't quite do it. The correct wording would be "SHOCK HAZARD -- KEEP OUT".
3. There should not be more than 3 warning labels per enclosure per TASK. And that's basically 3 individual hazards total. In the most recent editions (2014+) of NEC they went crazy on wanting warning labels for tons of new stuff and honestly especially in double ended switchgear that includes generators, you can't get all the NEC required labels to fit within the 3 label limit. To get everything in sometimes it takes 5-10 labels.

And to put it all in perspective...there has been research done on whether or not the formatting, standardization, etc., really makes any difference. The overall conclusion is that really it makes very little difference. Either the label is effective almost without regard for what it looks like, or it's not. The requirements of ANSI Z535 do NOT improve safety in any meaningful way so arguing semantics especially "DANGER" vs. "WARNING" (is there a hazard where someone could get hurt and does it matter if it's a broken arm or dead?) is pointless. Most of the time people either heed the signs or they don't, no matter where they go. And if it gets to the point where the list of warning labels looks like the first 3-10 pages of the manual for a landscaping tool, nobody is honestly going to bother reading it and it totally loses any impact whatsoever. Same thing when I walk up to a piece of equipment that looks like a bulletin board or warning labels. And it's hard to explain to anyone the difference between "DANGER" and "WARNING" and why you still have to work on a piece of equipment after using scare tactic training with arc flash and then telling someone to PM it.

So my position on ANSI Z535 is this: I'm not a believer. I think that the research on warning signs including ANSI Z535 speaks for itself...by itself it has zero impact. So I'm not hung up on what ANSI Z535 says or requires. However the fact that ANSI Z535 requirements get rid of some of the most stupid and ridiculous things going on in electrical labeling is what I'm a big advocate of. And if NEC and 70E both refer to it as a standard and it improves safety, then that's what I'm all for.

Good things that ANSI Z535 and signage in general is good for is for instance using DANGER SHOCK HAZARD only in places where they is a shock hazard that can't be readily identified. Or using the incident energy on a panel for PPE selection purposes. Those are more than just warning labels...they actually become helpful work instructions or aids to performing a task, kind of like the labels for voltage or even what a piece of equipment does. Those are useful.

The stickers I see these days labelled "DANGER" that are produced by the popular power system analysis software and promoted by various consultants might as well say "DANGER -- YOU WILL DIE IF YOU WALK ANYWHERE NEAR THIS EQUIPMENT OR EVEN THINK ABOUT WORKING ON IT SO JUST RUN AWAY SCARED AND COWER IN THE CORNER, OR ELSE CALL THE HIGH PAID CONTRACT TECHNICIAN TO COME IN AND FIX IT FOR YOU SO THEY RISK THEIR LIVES INSTEAD OF YOU." I know that's not what it says but that's what it has become. So what's the value of that label? If anything it has a negative ROI because most people are now scared to even do basic maintenance on it so it falls into disrepair and poor condition in a plant that previously had a pretty progressive track record. By getting rid of the whole concept of the "DANGER" label for arc flash (which by the way is NOT in 70E), it removes some of the issue with issuing these goofy "no PPE" stickers.

Also I'm not a fan of NEC starting in the 2014 edition where although there wa an attempt to bring all the label requirements into one section, the number of new places where labels were required EXPLODED everywhere else even as they tried to corral it all into a single spot. I tried to put together a single document for company with the label "standard" for electrical labelling that was NEC compliant and it ended up being something like a 3 page laundry list of label requirements. Then we ended up just putting in mocked up "sample equipment" labels by equipment type because the laundry list was just plain confusing. So again...ANSI Z535 if applied to NEC gets this back under control.

And finally with some of the idiotic requirements for putting up "danger" signs on every fence, door, panel, etc...again it loses both the effect and effectiveness to the point where even experienced personnel are not really sure what the signs mean. It certainly makes the work environment much harder to navigate and much less SAFE for anyone not intimately familiar with a site. You get to the point where you are either callous to the signs (ignoring them altogether) or start looking for hazards where none exist, which takes much longer to do. Again...ANSI Z535 to the rescue. And yes, a lot of this comes from the NEC itself and not so much from end users.


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 Post subject: Re: Have you read/do you own a copy of ANSI Z535?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 7:47 am 
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Yes to both. It doesn't have a lot of info other than what is commonly put into labels. Paul covered the main points. Some of the use is interpretation.

Key is to ask how you want to use DANGER. We do not typically put DANGER if the PPE program can meet the level because some companies want to reserve DANGER for places they do not allow work. Many software systems spit out DANGER on anything >40 cal/cm2 with a warning that no safe PPE exists. This is untrue and confusing when you make a worker suit up to check voltage and ground something that it is implied will kill them.

We prefer clarity on the label but companies decide what they want based on their ESP or their engineering company's labels.

ANSI Z535 will not be mandatory in 2018 but it is still the best guide we have. Proposals on guidelines for labels should be submitted to NFPA 70E or to IEEE 1584.1.


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 Post subject: Re: Have you read/do you own a copy of ANSI Z535?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 2:05 pm 
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Here is a bit of additional information from an article of mine that was published in the January 2017 issue of Electrical Contractor Magazine.

http://www.ecmag.com/section/safety/additional-guidance-ansi-z5354-and-arc-flash-labels


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 Post subject: Re: Have you read/do you own a copy of ANSI Z535?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 8:44 am 
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Excellent resource Jim.

Thanks,

Hugh


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 Post subject: Re: Have you read/do you own a copy of ANSI Z535?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 11:52 am 
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Here is another article addressing thse use of Caution, Warning and Danger on labels. It was based on a survey of people regarding typical Signal Word/Color Code practices.

http://www.ecmag.com/section/safety/its-gray-area


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