Making Your Own Electrical Safety Labels/Signs: Is It Legal?
If you’re a facility or organization that relies on electricity, you probably need safety labels for your electrical equipment. The question is, can you make your own?
August 4, 2022
Yes, making your own electrical safety signs is completely legal. OSHA’s rules for electrical safety give the basic requirements for making your own safety labels and signs.
Continue reading if you’re interested in making your own electrical safety signs and labels. We’ll give you advice on how to do it.
Need help creating your own electrical safety tags and labels or building up your electrical safety program? Turn your uncertainty into 100% confidence by requesting an electrical safety quote.
CAN YOU MAKE YOUR OWN ELECTRICAL SAFETY SIGNS?
Yes, you can design your own electrical safety signs as long as it is in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.145 of OSHA’s guidelines and NEC (the National Electrical Code). You can also refer to ANSI Z535 standards for safety signs and colors.
As a general rule, signs must:
Be of sufficient durabilities, such as being printed with an industrial label printer.
Have special protection as needed, such as being UV ray resistant, washdown resistant, laminated, aluminum, along with others.
Be immediately recognizable with clear text.
Have headers that include the nature of the risk itself (e.g., danger/caution/warning).
Have colors and symbols that are clear and universal for hazard identification.
Electrical hazard, high voltage, and arc flash labels should be specially designed to keep a clear and concise format that enables immediate recognition through the use of signal words, safety alert symbols, and specific hazard information.
Headers should be chosen based on the nature of the risk itself (e.g., danger/caution/warning), while label messages should begin with urgent information before providing direct instructions in a simple-to-read font.
Images should also be clear and universal, including basic go-to symbols such as a triangle for a hazard, a circle with a slash for prohibited access, and so on.
DO I NEED ARC FLASH LABELS?
Yes, you do need arc flash labels. Arc flash labeling is the responsibility of the company, rather than an equipment manufacturer or installer.
The NFPA 70E, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace 130.5 (H) states:
Electrical equipment such as switchboards, panelboards, industrial control panels, meter socket enclosures, and motor control centers that are in other than dwelling units and that are likely to require examination, adjustment, servicing, or maintenance while energized shall be marked with a label containing all the following information:
Nominal system voltage
Arc flash boundary
At least one of the following:
Available incident energy and the corresponding working distance, or the arc flash PPE category in Table 130.7(C)(15)(a) or Table 130.7(C)(15)(b) for the equipment, but not both.
Minimum arc rating of clothing.
Site-specific level of PPE.”
Have questions about arc flash labels? Ask our electrical safety experts. Call us at (816) 734-8300.
DO ELECTRICAL DISCONNECTS NEED LABELING?
Yes, all electrical disconnects will need labeling.
As of 2020, NEC 110.22(A) General outlines that disconnecting means should be legibly marked to indicate their purpose unless they are located and arranged so that purpose is already evident.
So, where do you apply the labels?
The best place to apply electrical disconnect labels is anywhere it can be read without opening the equipment and being exposed to the hazards within the shock and arc flash approach boundaries. This could be just a few feet or greater than 20 feet!
Avoid placing a label over the manufacturer’s listing label as well, as this is also a requirement.
THE TOP 5 ELECTRICAL SAFETY LABELS NEEDED FOR YOUR SAFETY PROGRAM
OSHA and ANSI have established three primary severity classifications for signs that can better help you to identify how and what you should label. All facilities must have safety labels, signs, and warnings to maintain a quality electrical safety program.
Here are the top five labels you should consider applying:
Arc Flash and Shock Hazard (Warning and Danger Signs): These are the signs that describe hazards that could result in serious injury or death
DANGER High Voltage (Danger Signs): Signs that highlight serious hazards requiring special precautions
Caution Signs: Cautions regarding electrical hazards that could result in minor injuries if not avoided
Lockout/Tagout Signs: Signs to ensure that equipment is shut down and inoperable until maintenance or repair work is completed
Electrical Hazard KEEP OUT Signs: Signs to keep unauthorized personnel away from electrical equipment
The specific labels needed for your safety program will vary greatly depending on your equipment, your business environment, and even the specific approach that you’ve chosen to take to signage in general.
Electrical safety signs give important information to workers and are also required by a variety of laws and standards. They can also be one of the most efficient tools in a facility manager’s toolkit.
During the design stages, make sure that your electrical identification labels adhere to compliance and regulation.
To make things simple, you can outsource your electrical signage and program needs to experienced electrical engineers.
Prefer talking on the phone? Call us at (816) 734-8300.
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About the Author
We write about workplace and electrical safety. We want every worker to go home safely to their families and fulfill their job duties without risk.