Definitions for Danger, Warning, Caution Signs that follow ANSI Z535 Standards and OSHA 1910.145 Rules
What Header Should I Use?
The definitions described by the older OSHA and the
recent ANSI standard are similar, yet, to some, contain important differences regarding the probability of serious
death or injury. These definitions are as follows:
ANSI Z535.5 Definitions:
• Danger: Indicate[s] a hazardous situation which, if not avoided, will result in death or serious injury. The signal word "DANGER" is to be limited to the most extreme situations. DANGER [signs] should not be used for property damage hazards unless personal injury risk appropriate to these levels is also involved.
• Warning: Indicate[s] a hazardous situation which, if not avoided, could result in death or serious injury. WARNING [signs] should not be used for property damage hazards unless personal injury risk appropriate to this level is also involved.
• Caution: Indicate[s] a hazardous situation which, if not avoided, could result in minor or moderate injury. CAUTION [signs] without a safety alert symbol may be used to alert against unsafe practices that can result in property damage only.
• Notice: [this header is] preferred to address practices not related to personal injury. The safety alert symbol shall not be used with this signal word. As an alternative to “NOTICE” the word “CAUTION” without the safety alert symbol may be used to indicate a message not related to personal injury.
The OSHA 1910.145 definitions for tags are as follows:
• Danger: "shall be used in major hazard situations where an
immediate hazard presents a threat of death or serious injury
to employees. Danger tags shall be used only in these situations."
• Warning: "may be used to represent a hazard level between "Caution"
and "Danger," instead of the required "Caution"
tag, provided that they have a signal word of "Warning,"
an appropriate major message, and otherwise meet the general
tag criteria of paragraph (f)(4) of this section."
• Caution: "shall be used in minor hazard situations where a non-immediate
or potential hazard or unsafe practice presents a lesser
threat of employee injury."
OSHA Sign specifications also show the following:
• 1910.145(c)(1)(ii): All employees shall be instructed that danger signs indicate immediate danger and that special precautions are necessary.
• 1910.145(c)(2)(i): Caution signs shall be used only to warn against potential hazards or to caution against unsafe practices.