Prevent accidents, improve processes, and achieve compliance by implementing safety labels throughout your manufacturing setting. Manufacturing area products, including safety labels, stickers, and tags, communicate specific information for equipment, goods, or processes in your facility. They are one of many types of visual cues that can be used together to create a safer, more productive workspace

How to Use Labels to Improve Safety

Labels can be part of a comprehensive approach to improving safety by providing immediate, easy-to-understand visual cues for the machinery, environment, or hazard at hand. Follow these tips for using labels to mitigate electrical hazards, promote proper procedures, and label machine and equipment hazards, with improved safety as your ultimate objective.

Mitigate Electrical Hazards With Caution, Danger & Warning Labels

Electrical hazards abound in manufacturing settings, where employees may encounter high-voltage equipment, live wires, or malfunctioning machinery during a routine workday. Use safety labels to draw attention to these hazards and warn employees of the associated dangers. From high voltage labels that alert workers and visitors of electrocution and arc flash dangers to stickers that warn of shock risks, you’ll find a variety of products to bring attention to electrical hazards in manufacturing areas.

Promote Proper Lockout Procedures With Tags and Labels

Lockout and tagout procedures prevent injury from the improper disabling or shutdown of machinery by preventing spontaneous startup during maintenance or repairs. Warning tags are a crucial part of any lockout procedure: Use red tags to label out-of-order machinery, identify equipment in staging areas, and urge caution when dealing with malfunctioning equipment. Safely identify lockout points, including shut-off valves and breakers, using easy-to-understand labels.

Label Machine and Equipment Hazards

The machinery and equipment in a manufacturing environment pose a range of physical hazards for employees. Label potential pinch points, urge caution in tandem with machine guards, and indicate the potential for hot surfaces on or in recently powered-on equipment. Adhesive labels allow you to provide important physical safety cues as close to the hazard as possible, improving employee safety and overall OSHA compliance. We also offer tags to mark equipment that needs inspection or is out of order, so employees know to avoid using potentially dangerous machinery.

Improve Communication Regarding Hazardous Materials

In manufacturing environments in which dangerous chemicals or biohazardous materials are handled, clear labels provide proper identification and precautions regarding these products. Appropriate labeling is also imperative for OSHA compliance: GHS secondary container labels and safety data sheets communicate important information about hazardous chemicals in manufacturing environments, including associated risks and proper handling protocols. OSHA also requires the use of biohazard labels that prominently feature the standardized symbol. 

Mark Inventory, Tools, and PPE

Asset tags indicate ownership of an item and act as a deterrent to theft of both products and equipment, preventing safety hazards associated with missing or misplaced goods or tools. Customize asset tags with company name, logos, colors, and barcodes to make organization and the tracking of goods more efficient.

You may also use safety labels or customizable asset tags to mark essential personal protective equipment (PPE). This approach makes it easier to track and locate critical safety gear, so it is readily available when needed. To boost your manufacturing environment’s organizational approach, consider color-coding asset labels by assigning specific colors to indicate different areas of use or different types of PPE. 

Labels for OSHA & ANSI Compliance

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and ANSI (American National Standards Institute) issue important standards and regulations for safety of workers and visitors in manufacturing environments. Labels, including stickers and tags, can communicate important safety information to support those objectives and help achieve compliance.

Follow Guidelines and Best Practices for Safety Label and Tag Design

Safety labels and tags should follow guidelines established by OSHA in standard 1910.145(f)(4) together with general guidelines for legibility in the warehouse environment.¹ Follow these tips for best practices for effective safety label design and implementation:

  • Tags should contain a signal word and major message, which can be presented in pictographs or text. Use clear and concise language and pictograms for maximum legibility and accessibility. Universally recognized symbols make safety messages clear regardless of language barriers.
  • Choose labels made from durable materials with convenient features. Labels should feature high-quality adhesive that will maintain environmental conditions, while tags should be reinforced so they don’t tear. Pay careful attention to material when choosing products to be used in outdoor areas; labels will be marked accordingly if they are appropriate for outdoor use.
  • Location and placement of tags and labels are as important as the design itself. OSHA stipulates that “tags shall be affixed as close as safely possible to their respective hazards by a positive means such as string, wire, or adhesive that prevents their loss or unintentional removal.”
  • Follow color standards set forth by regulatory or safety bodies, including OSHA and ANSI. Use red, black, and white to communicate danger; orange for warning or biohazards; and yellow for caution labels.

Understanding Signal Words for Safety Messaging

OSHA-compliant safety labels incorporate signal words to indicate the type of hazard. A signal word is associated with each of four levels of severity classifications as outlined in OSHA 1910.145:

  • Danger: The most severe, “Danger’ is only used in major hazard situations where an immediate hazard presents a threat of death or serious injury.
  • Caution: Indicates minor to moderate risk and is used when “Non-immediate or potential hazard or unsafe practice presents a lesser threat of employee injury.”
  • Warning: Indicates a hazard level between “Caution” and “Danger.” Must also incorporate an appropriate, relevant major message.
  • BIOHAZARD: Used to identify the actual or potential presence of a biological hazard. 

We also offer safety labels printed with the standard signal word “Notice,” which is used to communicate general information to employees. For maximum clarity when using safety labels to indicate hazards or reinforce best practices in manufacturing environments, make sure you match the signal word and associated label color with the appropriate level of caution.

Use labels in manufacturing environments to increase OSHA compliance, improve safety, and increase efficiency in affected areas. For more on using high-quality products to improve operations in your warehousing, manufacturing, or industrial environment, explore our Resource Center.

Sources:
1. https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/regulations/standardnumber/1910/1910.145