The ANSI Z535 standard comprises the following six individual standards:
- ANSI Z535.1 American National Standard for Safety Colors
- ANSI Z535.2 American National Standard for Environmental and Facility Safety Signs
- ANSI Z535.3 American National Standard for Criteria for Safety Symbols
- ANSI Z535.4 American National Standard for Product Safety Signs and Labels
- ANSI Z535.5 American National Standard for Safety Tags and Barricade Tapes (for Temporary Hazards)
- ANSI Z535.6 American National Standard for Product Safety Information in Product Manuals, Instructions, and Other Collateral Materials
The ANSI Z535 standards are administered and published by NEMA the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, an association of member companies that manufacture a diverse set of products including power transmission and distribution equipment, lighting systems, factory automation and control systems, and medical diagnostic imaging systems. NEMA is headquartered in Arlington, Virginia.
These standards have been developed and formulated by the ANSI Z535 committee, originally formed in 1979 and accredited by the American National Standards Institute. This committee is a highly active United States standards-making body that writes these standards to govern the characteristics of visual safety markings that are used to warn about hazards and prevent accidents. Gary Bell led this committee for more than two decades and, as of January 2012, the chairmanship is now held by Geoffrey Peckham, CEO of Clarion Safety Systems.
The ANSI Z535 standard series is continually improved and refined based on human factors research and court case precedents. Every five years these standards are formally revised with the most recent publication in October 2017.
ANSI Z535-style communications are becoming more prevalent in society. 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 standards in their efforts to assure a safer workplace and the safe use of their products so both accidents and lawsuits are minimized.
Safety colors provided by ANSI Z535 are harmonized with U.S. Federal Regulations, and include tolerances ranges to make them compatible with ISO 3864. However, ANSI safety colors are not exactly the same colors as used in U.S. traffic signs (prescribed by the MUTCD.)
The ANSI Z535 standards are often cited in U.S. court decisions as the state-of-the-art benchmark against which safety markings and their adequacy are judged.
- ISO 3864 — International equivalent to this American National Standard, for information signs, colors and warnings
- ISO 7010 — International equivalent to this American National Standard, for shapes and symbols
- NEMA. "ANSI Z535 Safety Alerting Standards - NEMA". www.nema.org. Retrieved 2016-12-27.
- "49 CFR 172". Code of Federal Regulations. Retrieved 2020-10-13.
- Furber, Brandon. "How to Write ANSI Safety Colors in Your Specification". Electro-Mark Blog. Electro-Mark. Retrieved 2020-10-13.
- "Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices: MUTCD Color Specifications (23 CFR 655)". Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved 2020-10-13.