What are ANSI colors?

ANSI’s Z535.1 standard depicts safety colors that should be used in any kind of public or industrial area. ANSI’s standard colors exist to better the environment around employees and visitors who may come into contact with hazardous material or dangerous situations, and have the general need for clear communication. If properly utilized, these colors are lifesavers in these kinds of environments as they are capable of providing a visual representation of dangers that pose a risk to those nearby as well as alert them to exercise caution. ANSI Z535.1 regarding safety colors is the first out of six subcategories that explain safety symbols, signs, training material, etc.

ANSI Z535 Colors

The standard includes the following colors:

  • Red signifies danger or the need to stop.
  • Orange is mostly used on machines that pose a risk to the worker. This includes crushing, cutting, or general harm.
  • Yellow is used where any amount of caution is needed. This usually applies to common hazards like tripping, the potential of hearing loss, burn risks, etc.
  • Green appears in egress signs to alert people of emergency exits. Green also notates the location of first aid equipment and other safety implements.
  • Blue denotes information on a particular area or item. This color does not have to be safety related.
  • Black and White are often used to direct traffic or alert people about general housekeeping information on the facility.
  • Purple is popular as a radiation color, but that use has not been strictly defined by ANSI yet.
  • Gray does not have a standard use regarded by ANSI currently.

The Z535 color standard is recognized by OSHA as a golden standard for use with hazards. However, OSHA hasn’t incorporated the updated ANSI Z535 standards into their mandated requirements just yet. Experts believe it’s only a matter of time until these standards become enforceable by OSHA due to incorporation by reference.


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