Sign Header Selection

ANSI (the American National Standards Institute) requires that signs indicate the level of hazard and define the specific actions to avoid injury or death.

Identified by their use of the signal words DANGER, WARNING, CAUTION, NOTICE, or SAFETY INSTRUCTIONS, ANSI-style signs most often include specific details about the nature of the hazard, the consequence of interaction with the hazard, and avoidance procedures. Product manufacturers and facility owners in a wide array of industries use the ANSI Z535 (2011) Standard in their efforts to assure a safer workplace and the safe use of their products so both accidents and lawsuits are minimized.

The ANSI Z535 (2011) Standard is made up of six individual standards:

ANSI Z535.1 – the standard that defines the safety colors in terms of their color tolerances.  The colors are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, grey, white, and black. It also describes each color’s ink formulation and closest PANTONE color.

ANSI Z535.2 – this standard details the five types of signs: 1) hazard alerting signs, 2) notice signs, 3) safety instruction signs, 4) safety equipment location signs, 5) fire equipment location signs.  It also defines the words “accident,” “harm,” and “incident” to make the distinction between physical injury and other safety-related issues such as property damage, sanitation, housekeeping.

ANSI Z535.3 – this standard defines the criteria for the safety symbols used on safety signs.

ANSI Z535.4 – this standard details the guidelines covering the design of signs and labels for application to products.

ANSI Z535.5 – this standard defines the requirements for hazard alerting using tags and barricade tapes for applications in the environment as opposed to applications on product.

ANSI Z535.6 – this standard addresses product safety information as it is presented in product manuals, instructions, and other collateral materials.
Signal Words (with Spanish Translations):

ANSI Z535 Sign Headers


DANGER / PELIGRO (White letters on Red background) indicates where an immediate hazard exists with a strong potential for death or severe injury.

WARNING /ADVERTENCIA (Black letters on Orange background)indicates hazardous situations that may result in death or severe injury.

CAUTION / CUIDADO (Black Letters on Yellow Background) is used to warn against potential hazards or unsafe practices.

NOTICE / AVISO (White letters on Blue background) indicates the need to provide general information to avoid confusion.




(White letters on Green background) headings are used with information about health, housekeeping, first aid, medical equipment and general safety.