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SWEDE 2011 Bastrop, Texas

presented by Dan Cowan, Oncor

Cause and effect

The life cycle of our equipment
can easily reach beyond
off-the-shelf label designs.
Equipment 30-40 years on-site typical
Labels some colors may fade away in
as little as 2 years without protection!
Use Standards to convey expectations

Standards ANSI, ASTM and UL

Response to life cycle needs:

Incorporating National Standards

These sources include:
1. ANSI Z535
2. ASTM D256, D4956 and E810
3. UL 969 and UL 94-VTM
Other National Standards also exist.

By referencing sources that are readily

and accepted, one can be confident that the end
product will provide consistent results from several

Benefits of incorporating National

1. System wide consistency regarding
visual alert system of potential hazards
2. Expectations and deliverables are explicit to all
3. Sign and Label Design, Performance and
Details may be clearly defined


Basically - Z535 of American National

Standards Institute clearly provides significant
essential design elements


Safety Color Code

Environmental and Facility Safety Signs
Criteria for Safety Symbols
Product Safety Signs and Labels
Safety Tags and Barricade Tapes
(for Temporary Hazards)

ANSI Z535.1
Safety Color code
Defines technical definitions, color standards
and color tolerances for safety colors,
so the end user may have a consistent
reference that will assist the manufacturer
when creating Safety Signs and Labels.
Various sources are referred to within Z535.1 that further
explain intent, application, expectation, color specifications

1983 version

2011 version

ANSI Z535.2
Environmental and
Facility Safety Signs

Society diversity - standardized

visual alerting system for safety
signs and labels.
FIVE keys to meet the objective:
1. Safety Alert Symbol (with triangle-exclamation point)
3. Background Color behind the Signal word:
red, orange, yellow, blue/green or black

4. Label background white is preferred and retroreflective

5. Text: left justified and mixed case

ANSI Z535.3
Criteria for Safety Symbols
Symbols effectively communicate with:

- people who cannot read

- who do not understand text

- in consideration for Cultural diversity

Symbols have demonstrated their ability to
communicate effectively regarding accident
prevention and for personal protection, ANSI Z535.3
For complete details, please refer to ANSI Z535.3
To purchase a copy go to www.nema.org/stds/

Criteria for Safety Symbols
Electric Shock
Electric Shock body with wire and lightning bolt
Electric Shock Hand with wire
Some users prefer the Hand with wire due to its simplicity
and the ease of enlarging it on signs and labels


Z535.3 Criteria for Safety

Hand with wirelabel has 8 inch width and hand is over
3 inches wide in this graphic:

Easy to see and Easy to read

ANSI 535.4
Product Safety Signs and Labels

Used on the product itself.

Not for SubstationsNot for Padmounted EnclosuresNot for Towers.

Proper application example: Waste Transformer Oil

Depending on the contents in the drum
use the appropriate Signal Word and hazard color code:

Danger - (red background)

Warning - (orange background)
Caution - (yellow background)
Notice - Information only (blue background)

ANSI Z535.5
Safety Tags and Barricade Tapes
(for Temporary Hazards)
This Standard is similar to Z535.4 except
it is specifically for use with temporary hazards

Utility applications:
Lock-out tags (may be Red, Orange, Yellow or Blue
Message tags (pre-printed ownership markers)
Information tags (that allow hand-written notes)
Barricade tapes (these are usually off-the-shelf items) so
the Manufacturer would be following this Standard

Example of Red flag

Impact Resistance test
The ANSI Z535 does not cover impact
resistance, so we refer to ASTM D256
to qualify signs and labels by impact tolerance.
If defacement occurs easily, premature failure and costs
increase. Shipment, moving and the installation of
equipment - typical environmental impacts - could destroy
the label or sign.
For instance: Vegetation that may grow around a
padmounted equipment device and then scratch or rub the
label for an extended period of timethe Impact resistance
would reduce or even prevent premature destruction

ASTM D4956
Retroreflective Sheeting

Retroreflective sheeting -cornerstone

of effective safety labels and signs.
Type 1 Class 1 re: 235F internal temps
Reflective labels and signs provide a visual aid
to enhance awareness.
Drab colors and flat paint are often used to reduce visibility of
electrical enclosures.
Reflective labels counter this hidden overture.
ASTM 4956 provides many details for the base material, overlaminates,
optical properties, adhesive thickness and adhesive bonding and other
characteristics important to utility signs and labels.

ASTM E 810
Retroreflective Sheeting
Standard test for Retroreflective
sheeting assures consistent quality and
When used with ASTM 4956 we can be more
certain that the label manufacturer has the base
material that maximizes display when needed.

UL 969
Marking and Labeling Systems
This Standard test method provides for
consistent quality and performance at the site
of manufacture for certain labels and signs.
These requirements cover:
Adhesive attached labels
Unprinted materials (overlaminates, etc.)
Covers the complete finished product
Provide for test criteria (Permanence and Legibility)
Include reference to UL 969 within specification to validate the test
criteria and provide detail reference.

UL 94 -VTM
Flammability of plastics
These test covers how a material reacts to:
Surface burns
Vertical burns
Horizontal burns
We include flammability standards within a
specification to validate the test criteria and
provide detail reference, since grass fires do
occur from time to time, and we need the labels
and/or signs to survive these events, when

Support and Validity of Standards

Using ANSI, UL, ASTM and other widely
proven national industry standards provides
for consistent recognition of hazards.
Various Electrical products carry a tag, label
markings that read: Danger (red background) or
Warning (orange background) as shown earlier.
This consistent message format will in fact increase
awareness by the general public of potential electrical
hazards as we apply it within electric utility systems.
Competition to provide labels and signs for utilities with
similar products is validated when industry standards are
known and applied.

Bottom line: Awareness

The use of safety labels and signs is
clearly aimed at conveying:
1. Hazardous conditions
2. Information

convey Safety messages through:

- Text
- Symbols
- Use of Color


goal is to communicate with the observer:

Regardless of ageEven if the observer may NOT be able to readThe observer needs to get the message quickly


SWEDE 2011 Bastrop, Texas

presented by Dan Cowan, Oncor

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