The basic purpose of a safety sign is to alert someone to a policy or potential hazard with enough time to take action and ensure their own safety.
With that as a goal, basic requirements of safety signs should be displaying elements that gain the attention of onlookers in a clear and concise way.
This could be fulfilled by the use of bold colors, clear messages, or universally understood imagery.
Specific safety sign requirements will vary based on a number of factors, including what kind of workplace standards the signage needs to comply with for safety.
Other factors could be minimum necessary viewing distance of the message, the potential hazard or policy that they alert persons to, and policies that guide industry best practices.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets and enforces safety standards for most workplaces in the country, and has developed specific definitions for the types of safety signage that should be used in the workplace.
In the early 1970’s, OSHA adopted the American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI) Z35.1-1968 standard for the design of safety signs – the design we now think of when imagining OSHA safety signs.This ANSI standard defined the layout of danger signs, caution signs, radiation warning signs, safety instruction signs, exit signs, directional signs, notice signs, and the slow moving vehicle emblem.In the standard, the definitions of danger signs, caution signs, safety instruction signs, directional signs, and notice signs were also explained.
ANSI has updated their standards for the required design of accident preventions signs (safety signs), and OSHA has recently incorporated these standards.
What are ISO symbols?Safety Symbol Definitions - ISOGraphical symbols, whether used on safety signs and labels, instruction booklets, or in technology, are important for many reasons. One important reason for using graphical symbols is to increase understanding across language barriers.ISO safety symbols are a subset of the ISO symbols that have been developed to provide information in a variety of use cases. These safety symbols provide graphical information about where to use personal protective equipment, potentially hazardous situations, and workplace policies.These symbols, when designed using ISO standards, are guaranteed to be visually clear and consistent, aiding in the ability of the viewer to recognize and understand the symbol.There are three types of ISO safety symbols: hazard alerting, prohibition, and mandatory action symbols.Hazard alerting symbols, to be ISO compliant, must be contained in a yellow equilateral triangle with a black interior border.Prohibition symbols must have a red circle with a 45° slash and a black image on a white background. ISO prohibition symbols convey actions that should not be taken.Mandatory action symbols display actions that should be taken to avoid potential hazards. These images must be white inside blue surrounding circles.ISO 3864-1 and ISO 3864-2 ComplianceISO 3864-1 and ISO 3864-2 standards together outline the best practices for the design of product safety signs and safety labels. These standards create a unified design for safety signs and labels to be used on products and in the workplace.
Whether you are studying for your driver’s exam or saw an unusual sign that you do not remember, it is always a good idea to familiarize yourself with it. Recognizing traffic signs and knowing their meanings can help drivers make safe driving decisions faster and more easily.Here are 10 popular traffic signs and their meanings:1.Deer Crossing SignsThis road warning sign is not an opportunity to ask why the deer crossed the road. As defined by the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) by the Federal Highway Administration, the MUTCD W11-3 deer crossing sign alerts drivers to areas where the population of deer is active and may enter the roadway.An average white-tailed deer, which is common throughout North America, weighs around 100 pounds and is about three or four feet tall.Seeing a deer of this size on the road is a very serious situation, and as a warning, deer crossing signs can help drivers pass safely through these areas.2.Emergency Vehicle Warning SignsPossibly the least frequently seen warning sign on the list of traffic signs and their meanings, the emergency vehicle warning sign is one of the most important.Similar to the deer crossing signs in shape and design, MUTCD W11-8 signs alert drivers to upcoming fire departments, ambulance stations, and other areas where emergency vehicles could be entering the roadway with limited warning to drivers.Drivers should also refrain from pulling over in these areas to keep it clear for emergency vehicles to pull in and out of the station.3.Keep Right SignKnowing these popular traffic signs and their meanings is a vital part of being a safe driver, bicyclist, and pedestrian. For more information about official traffic signs and the MUTCD, visit the Federal Highway Administration website.Keep Right SignWhen a road narrows, due to dividers or other obstructions, drivers need to be made aware of the change in the path of the roadway.MUTCD R4-7 and MUTCD R4-8 are the “keep right” and “keep left” versions of the same obstruction warning. These regulatory traffic signs aid in the flow of vehicles when these slight obstacles are present.4.Men at Work SignsMUTCD W21-1 is a temporary warning sign used to alert drivers of upcoming road work. Orange is used on this sign because it is one of the most visible colors to the human eye, and can be noticed above other traffic signs on the road.When driving through work zones, safe driving is at its highest premium. Men at work signs are generally accompanied by other temporary warning signs, such as “road work ahead” signs and “detour” signs.5.No Bicycle SignsBicycle riders are subject to many of the same traffic control signs that drivers are on the roadways.No bicycle signs, MUTCD R5-6, prohibit bicycle traffic from entering a roadway or facility. If used at a facility, these signs should be posted at the entrances.Other bicycle-related traffic signs are no parking bike lane signs (MUTCD R7-9) and bicycle warning signs (MUTCD W11-1).6.No U-Turn SignsThere are a few variations of a no U-turn sign, but the example shown here is the official MUTCD version (MUTCD R3-4). With the curved arrow showing a U-turn and bold prohibition symbol over it, this standard design is understood to express areas where drivers cannot change the direction of their vehicle into the opposite direction.7..Pedestrian Crossing SignsThere are a few MUTCD versions of pedestrian crossing signs that are posted near crosswalks and intersections.MUTCD W11-2 is used in a majority of settings, and is pictured here. MUTCD S1-1 is a pedestrian school area sign, and is posted in school zones. Both signs use a yellow-green fluorescent reflective sheeting that enhances its visibility on the roads.8.Speed Limit SignsSpeed limit signs are essential traffic control signs, and can vary in the limit depending on the specific state that you are driving though.Often while driving through residential streets, speed limit signs may not be seen. This is because the speed limit for most residential areas is 25 miles per hour, and this law is understood by drivers who pass their driving exams.Many highways have speed limits set at 55 miles per hour, but this can be changed by the state and will vary. Other common limits on highways are 45 miles per hour and 65 miles per hour.9.Stop SignsStop signs (MUTCD R1-1) are likely the most iconic of all traffic signs. Both the shape and color are important to how a stop sign is recognized and understood.No other sign is of an octagon shape, and no other sign is red in color. This is done because of the importance a stop sign has on traffic safety.Stop signs alert drivers to intersections and other areas where traffic may be traveling in opposite or crossing directions. For more information specifically about stop signs, visit our stop signs buyer’s guide.10.Yield SignsYield signs (MUTCD R1-2) are similar to stop signs, but used in less dangerous situations. Used at passive cross streets or traffic circles, yield signs help to keep traffic flowing, while still allowing drivers from different directions to pass through.The yield sign symbol is often used with pedestrian crossing signs where it is the state law to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk. They can also be found on in-street crossing signs.
5 funny road signs that try to keep us safe
Let us get a little Newtonian here: For every action, there is an equal reaction is a physical law that is resonating among transportation and public safety officers nationwide these days. Upticks in accidents attributed to distracted driving are compelling local and state governments to find novel ways to quash a burgeoning trend.
Certainly, laws restricting the use of cellphones and related technologies while driving are in place across the country, but telephones are only a fraction of the distractions eroding driver, and even pedestrian, attention.
What is more, those who do honor the cellphone ban while driving, do so while tapping out drumbeats on a dashboard or handling a too-hot cup of coffee. Multi-tasking of any sort is hazardous behavior in these circumstances and no law on the books can completely eliminate the dangers for everyone.
What is a municipal or state transportation authority to do?They turn to humor and popular-culture references in the hopes of getting people’s attention — and saving lives
Trying to keep pedestrians safe requires a sense of humor.
In Hayward, Calif., the city’s concern is pedestrians who cannot stow smart phones in order to cross streets safely. It is commonplace to see people walking while checking their phones. And it is also routine to watch people walk into doors and trip on curbs all without losing eye contact with their phone display.
Hayward, a stone’s throw from Silicon Valley where automakers are experimenting with their own approaches to the distracted driving epidemic, has turned to humorous traffic signs to catch the attention of texting pedestrians. A novel crosswalk sign reads: “Heads up! Cross the Street, then Update Facebook.” For drivers on a particularly steep street, the city offers: “Downhill: Use eyes, brakes, brains.”
A little humor can go a long way in the fight to keep drivers safe.
At the state level, Arizona’s Department of Transportation is using the resource of 200-plus overhead message boards on state highways to broadcast public service announcements on an as-needed basis.
The unconventional messaging campaign started over Thanksgiving of 2015 with “Drinking & Driving Go Together Like Peas & Guac.” The “peas and guac” refers to a controversial recipe published in The New York Times in July of 2013 that fueled an Internet storm among traditional guacamole lovers. In a states like Arizona where Mexican cuisine is a staple, such heresy is provocative, and when deployed as a PSA, it underscores the mismatch between drinking and safe driving.
This traffic campaign launched just before the Star Wars came out last fall.
A series of “Star Wars”-themed message boards followed over Christmas and New Year’s, coinciding with the debut of the latest installment of the movie franchise.
“Aggressive Driving is the Path to the Dark Side” was one of the notable “Star Wars” references. Both holiday campaigns were well received by the public and are now part of the arsenal the Arizona Department of Transportation uses to draw attention to pertinent transportation issues.
The Arizona Department of Transportation used these messages to target teens on the road during spring break
The Manufacturing Process of road signs
The production of signs can involve many different processes, depending on whether theRoad Sign retroreflective sheeting uses a heat-sensitive or pressure-sensitive adhesive and whether silk-screening, etching, or other coloring processes are used. Many traffic signs, however, undergo the following process using heat-sensitive adhesives.
Cutting the blank1 The sign blank is cut, usually from a sheet of steel or aluminum, by a metal shear machine or a band saw. Corners are rounded using the rounding-selection mode on a punch machine. Holes for mounting the sign are punched or drilled.
Checking the blanks2 The blanks are checked for any defects or contamination. Blanks must be free of grime in order for background sheeting to adhere properly. The "Tape Snap" test checks for the presence of dirt. A piece of transparent cellophane tape is applied to the dry blank surface and "snapped" up at a right angle. The presence of color or particles on the tape indicates contamination. Any trace of oil or wax is tested by the "Water Break" exercise. Water poured over the blank surface should flow evenly and completely; beading action denotes contamination.
Degreasing the blanks3 The blank surface is wiped with mineral spirits or naphtha to remove greasy fingerprints. The surface is dried with a clean, lint-free cloth before the solution evaporates. The blank is then degreased by immersion in a bath of trichloroethylene or percholorethylene vapor. Certain alkaline solutions can be used instead of the vapors in the bath. A water rinse afterward is not necessary
Cutting the retroreflective sheets4 Using scissors, razor blades, a knife, or a paper cutter, individual background retroreflective sheets are cut by hand. Multiple sheets, on the other hand, are cut using a band saw. In this process, the shape of the sign is traced on to a 0.125-inch (3.2 mm) wallboard. This wallboard is laid on top of about 50 sheets, secured and nailed to a hardboard cutting base. The band saw follows the pattern and cuts the sheets.5 Letters and symbols are punched out from white or black retroreflective sheeting either by hand or by using a "clicker" press. Up to 29 sheets can be placed in the press at once; cutting dies, which function much like cookie-dough cutters, are placed in the machine to produce the desired characters.
Applying sheet to sign blank6 The adhesive liner on the back of the background sheeting is removed in one motion, and the sheeting is applied to the dry blank surface. The sign is cranked through a large squeeze-roller applicator to remove air bubbles trapped between the sheeting and the blank. Edges are then trimmed.
Heating the sign7 The sign is placed in a heat lamp vacuum applicator for one minute, removed, and allowed to cool before the sign copy and border are placed on the sign. The squeezeroller applicator or a hand roller is used over the copy to eliminate air bubbles. The sign is then covered with a plastic slipsheet and placed in the heat lamp vacuum applicator for another minute.
How road sign is made?
Road signs use shapes, colors, words, and symbols to communicate a message to drivers. Without such signs, the movement of traffic would be disorderly and unpredictable. Virtually all traffic signs use retroreflective sheeting, which is designed to reflect some of the light from vehicle headlights back to the driver so that the sign will be visible at night. Color and shape can also provide cues to motorists even when the words or symbols on the sign are unintelligible. Regulatory signs, such as speed limit signs, are usually rectangular and use a white background. Stop signs, on the other hand, have a distinct octagonal shape and a red background in order to catch the driver's eye.Designers must utilize elements like shape and consider material properties in creating signs that drivers can see and understand in time to react appropriately. Contrast, which is a measure of the brightness of the message in relation to its background, is an important property of any sign. The environmental backdrop—usually green vegetation and blue sky—must also be considered in the design process. A border is placed around all signs to distinguish them as geometric shapes in contrast to nature.In order to maintain similar appearances among traffic signs, the federally approved Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) provides specifications for sign dimensions and the use of symbols. In addition, the MUTCD prescribes that all signs be either reflectorized or illuminated.
Citizens in America began forming automobile clubs in the early 1900s. These groups took it upon themselves to mark their local sections of highway with signs to warn and direct drivers. This scattered effort resulted in a wide variety of sign designs and messages in different sections of highway, which caused confusion among motorists. In 1924, the first steps toward national uniformity in road signs were taken by the Bureau of Public Roads. Designers were faced with developing signs to guide a largely illiterate population of motorists. As a result, color and shape were especially important components of signs from the beginning.Early signs lacked the reflectorized technology prevalent in signs today. In 1924 bright yellow was chosen as the background color for all warning signs, and white was the background color for all remaining signs. These lighter colors provided the greatest contrast with black lettering, especially when the signs were seen with the aid of headlights at night. Later signs used glass beads to produce a reflectorized effect at night. Beads—approximately 0.75 inch (20 mm) in diameter—were glued on the signs in the shape of numbers (such as the speed limit) or symbols to inform and warn nighttime drivers.The development of retroreflective sheeting by the 3M company in the 1940s changed the face of traffic signs forever. This material, with reflective elements like glass beads on or under a transparent plastic film, enabled better visibility of signs at night. Unlike diffuse reflection and mirror, or specular, reflection, retroreflection allows a surface to return a portion of light to the original source. In diffuse reflection, the reflected light is scattered in all directions, as when sunlight bounces off a car. In mirror
reflection, light bounces and reflects off the surface at an angle opposite to the source; this is similar to a pool ball striking the table cushion at a shallow angle and bouncing to the other end of the table. Retroreflective material, on the other hand, allows light beams to "bend" and return toward the original light source.
The first traffic sign using reflective sheeting was installed on the outskirts of Minneapolis in 1939. The surface of the sheeting was covered with tiny glass beads that produced the desired retroreflectivity. However, dirt tended to accumulate on the grainy surface and during wet weather, the water would coat the surface and diminish the reflective effects of the beads.
These problems were solved within a couple of years. An enclosed lens system was developed, essentially by covering the beaded sheeting with a transparent film that maintained the surface's retroreflective qualities. This type of sheeting, referred to at the time as "flat-top sheeting," is now known as engineering grade sheeting. It is the most economical grade and can be used on signs in areas with light traffic and slow speeds.
The next major development came in the late 1960s when encapsulated lens sheeting was invented, basically by adding a resin base and an additional reflector coat behind the glass beads. This high intensity material is three to four times as bright as engineering grade, and it retains its reflectivity longer; it is now the most commonly used type of reflective sheeting.
Another significant innovation came in 1989 with the substitution of microscopic prismatic reflectors for the traditional glass beads. There are about 7,000 microprisms per square inch (about 10 per sq mm) of this type of sheeting, producing about three times the brightness of the encapsulated lens variety. This is the most durable and most costly type of high performance sheeting currently available.
Traffic signs consist of three basic components: a blank, background sheeting, and sign copy. Blanks, usually constructed of plywood, aluminum, or steel, serve as the framework of the sign. Plywood is the least expensive blank material. It is fairly strong but is susceptible to weather damage since it is porous; plywood blanks must be overlaid with a thin layer of plastic. Aluminum will not rust, but it is very lightweight and must be reinforced with metal braces along the back. It is the most expensive blank option. Steel is a more economical alternative to aluminum; it is also more sturdy and does not need reinforcement. Rusting can be prevented by applying a coat of zinc to the steel blank.Background sheeting and the letter and symbols for the sign copy are cut from retroreflective sheeting. This sheeting consists of tiny glass beads or microprisms embedded in a flexible plastic surface; this construction allows light from car headlights to be reflected off the sign and back to the driver. Colored light is reflected from the sign if the sheeting is dyed with a pigment. For instance, to make "STOP" signs, red dye can be added to the sheeting mixture when it is in a liquid form.
America's 10 Most Confusing Traffic Signs
The creation of safe and legible road signs is an art, but the 10 traffic guideposts below demonstrate not all sign makers are Michelangelo. Whether because of confusing symbols, contradictory instructions or an excess of information, these signs obfuscate more than help the driver. Most of these signs are the creation of local and state governments that seem to lack the time or sophistication to make clear ones. Although these are the 10 most confusing traffic signs we could find, feel free to add photos and descriptions of awful signs you've found in your own travels.
Official Meaning of Sign: There is a traffic circle up ahead. Unofficial Meaning of Sign to Us: OMG, circles are awesome and everywhere. Let's do a circle right now!
2.You Should Probably Just Turn Off The Car And Walk
Official Meaning of Sign: Drivers in the left lane can only make a sharp left; drivers in the lane second from the left turn either a secondmost sharp or a slightly less sharp left; drivers in the center lane make a fourthmost sharp left; drivers in the right-of-center lane turn the fifthmost sharp left or go straight; drivers in the far right lane go straight or right. Unofficial Meaning of Sign to Us: Just follow along with the general pattern of traffic and hope you don't die.
3.Yield To Bikes
Official Meaning of Sign: Yield to bikes when approaching the new lane. Unofficial Meaning of Sign to Us: Yield to people doing wheelies, backwards, into traffic.
4.Stop Don't Stop
Official Meaning of Sign: Stop and then, as you proceed, do not stop. If you are a commercial vehicle you can actually stop, though it says you can't, on the right side for 30 minutes. Unofficial Meaning of Sign to Us: Just slowly roll through, trying to load or unload for no longer than 30 minutes.
5.Define "Very Light"
Official Meaning of Sign: You can only turn left if there isn't much traffic on a street called "Aviation." Unofficial Meaning of Sign to Us: As this photo is near the airport, if you don't know "Aviation St." is a thoroughfare, the sign means "look up to see how many planes are landing or taking off before attempting a left." If you know "Aviation" is a road try explaining to the police officer what your definition of "very light" is.
6.The Michigan Left
Official Meaning of Sign: Take a Michigan Left by going down the street and then making a U-turn to go left. Unofficial Meaning of Sign to Us: As opposed to the typical Michigan Left sign, this one seems to indicate that the State of Michigan is trying to trick you into not taking the obvious left turn in front of you.
7.Take A Right At Montreal
Official Meaning of Sign: Go straight for Montreal Avenue, the other direction for Montreal Way and take a left for Montreal Circle. Unofficial Meaning of Sign to Us: People in St. Paul, Minnesota are not exceptionally creative.
8.So That's How You Merge
Official Meaning of Sign: Merge from the left lane to the center lane or turn left. Unofficial Meaning of Sign to Us: The government of Dekalb doesn't think its citizens understand how a merge works and require overly complex drawings to explain very common driving situations.
9.All Other Times
Official Meaning of Sign: The right three lanes are open during rush hour, the right line is only open from 3:30 pm to 9:30 pm except for that period between 6:30 in the morning and 9:30 at night. The right two lanes are open from 9:30 pm to 6:30 am. The far left lane is lava (we think). Unofficial Meaning of Sign to Us: City planners in the District of Columbia either do not understand the difference between am and pm or it's up to drivers to guess which lanes are open when. The far left lane is lava (yeah, we're sticking to this).
10.Driving A Truck With Higher Than A 10,000 lb. GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) Is Not Fun
Official Meaning of Sign: Trucks over 10,000 pounds are not permitted to turn around — maybe? Unofficial Meaning of Sign to Us: Big trucks are not allowed to drive on their roofs. Big trucks are not allowed to flip over. Everyone else is either allowed to drive on their roofs or flip over.
What's the Difference Between a Street, a Road, and an Avenue?
Depending on where you live, your address will end in a different designation. You might live on 10th Street, or Meadow Lane, or Red Fox Road. Maybe those throughways intersect a road with a name like Washington Avenue or Park Place. Why the difference? There’s actually a method to the road-naming madness that goes beyond just the whims of urban designers.
Just like there are defined factors that distinguish a highway from a regular city street, there are characteristics that make streets, roads, and avenues distinct from one another. The difference between names like C Street and Avenue B comes down to variables like the size of the path, what surrounds it, and how it intersects with other roads.
A plain old “road,” for instance, is a general term for any throughway that connects two points. Like a square is also a rectangle, streets and avenues are types of roads.
“Streets” are public roads that have buildings on both sides. They’re often perpendicular to “avenues,” which historically were grander and wider. These days, the difference tends to be directional.
In Denver, for instance, naming conventions dictate that Streets run north-south and avenues run east-west. In Manhattan, it’s the opposite, with “Avenues” running north-south and streets running east-west. This isn’t always the case, though: in Washington, D.C., avenues run diagonal to the street grid.
Oddly enough, avenues and streets can be combined, too. In a naming convention particular to Tucson, Arizona, some roads are “Stravenues,” which run diagonal to the normal north-south/east-west grid. (The U.S. Postal Service recognizes these by the abbreviation “Stra.”)
There are many other kinds of street names, of course. "Boulevards," designed to funnel high-speed traffic away from residential and commercial streets, are even grander than avenues, with trees on either side and a sizable median. Then there are the smaller roads, with names that might feel familiar to anyone who’s driven around a suburban housing tract. A “Way” is a smaller side street that splits off from a road. A “Place” has a dead end, as does a “court,” which usually ends in a cul-de-sac. A “Lane” is narrow, and is usually located in a more remote, rural place. A "Drive" tends to wind around a natural landmark, like a mountain or a lake.