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Z535 Standard Considered by OSHA


6/17/2013 10:00 AM

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published two items in the June 13, 2013, Federal Register pertaining to updating its regulations to incorporate references to the ANSI Z535 series of standards, which are published by NEMA:

Both rules effectively do the same thing—adding references to Z535.1-2006 (R2011), Z535.2-2011, and Z535.5-2011 to OSHA regulations while retaining existing references to earlier standards.

There are two main benefits to the OSHA rulemaking: (1) it alleviates the potential situation whereby an employer choosing to use signs that comply with the new standards technically would be violating OSHA regulations and could be assessed a de minimus citation; and (2) it lessens the likelihood that OSHA will receive adverse comments since the change allows, but does not mandate, employers to use ANSI Z535.

One of two things is bound to happen. If OSHA does not receive a significant volume of adverse comments on the Direct Final Rule by July 15, 2013 (the comment deadline), the rule will be finalized and become effective on September 11, 2013, and the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking will be withdrawn. Conversely, if OSHA receives a significant volume of adverse comments they will withdraw the Direct Final Rule and proceed with the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

Public comments for both the Direct Final Rule and the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking are due by July 15, 2013.

NEMA publishes the ANSI Z535 series of standards for safety signs and colors. Composed of six documents and a color chart, these standards depict and explain the unique properties that can alert people to hazards in the workplace and at home. Each standard within this series has distinctive properties and collectively they prevent accidents and injuries.​