NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search
Symbols For Industrial Safety.
Collins-BL; Lerner-ND; Pierman-BC
National Engineering Laboratory, National Bureau of Standards, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, D.C., Report No. NBSIR 82-2485, 1982 Apr:158 pages
The use of symbols for industrial safety was assessed in a four phase evaluation of a set of selected workplace symbols. First, 33 referents important to workplace safety were selected. The messages were divided into five categories: hazards, protective gear, first aid and emergency equipment, prohibited actions, and egress. Secondly, 2 to 40 symbolic images were collected for each of the referents. Graphics and safety committees selected three to five of the most appropriate symbols for further experimentation. In phase three, 272 employees from different industries in different geographical areas of the country were asked to define the meaning of each image. The images were shown one at a time in random order. The subjects were shown only one image for each of the referents. In phase four, all of the images were presented along with intended meanings. The participants selected the image that best conveyed the intended meaning to them, and indicated reasons for their preference. Symbol recognition, in terms of percentage of correct responses and confusion, varied widely for the 33 referents. Despite their standardized uses for many years, the radiation, biohazard, and laser symbols were often identified incorrectly. The symbols for protective gear, first aid equipment, and emergency equipment were usually correctly identified. Preference data supported the recognition data, with the correctly identified image usually being the most preferred image. The authors conclude that pictorial messages often involving a person and the hazard, action, or piece of gear are the most effective types of graphic images.
NIOSH-Author; Safety-research; Safety-measures; Industrial-safety; Occupational-exposure; Employee-exposure; Emergency-equipment; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Environmental-protection;
NTIS Accession No.
National Engineering Laboratory, National Bureau of Standards, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, D.C., Report No. NBSIR 82-2485, 158 pages, 59 references
Page last reviewed: April 12, 2019
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division