Considerable effort is being expended to make the graphical symbols used within safety signs internationally recognised throughout the world. The meaning of some symbols is not always obvious and often training is required to ensure they are fully understood.
Education can be achieved in a number of ways by including graphical symbols in operation manuals, company circulars and training literature as well as by using supplementary text alongside the symbol within the safety sign.
The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) has been working on International Standard ISO 3864 covering the design of international safety signs for a number of years. The second edition of part 3 of the standard, “Design principles for graphical symbols for use in safety signs” has been published earlier this year. Parts 1 and 4 of the standard covers the colour and design principles of safety signs, new editions of these parts were published in 2011. The main signs affected are mandatory, some hazard and prohibition signs plus minor changes to safe condition and fire equipment signs. Fortunately ISO has compiled a catalogue of safety signs ISO 7010:2011 this standard is a live list of graphical symbols for use in safety signage and can be added to as other symbols are identified as a requirement. Its publication last year gives all sign manufacturers an internationally agreed standard to work on when producing their products.
Maritime Progress has an extensive library that has been updated to reflect these latest design principles. Although there are some new graphical symbols other changes are often slight and will not be noticed by the casual observer unless compared to a previously produced symbol.
The above standards are not the final word when it comes to marine signs as there will be a complementary series of standards, ISO 24409 covering shipboard safety signs. The standard is in three parts, part one, the design principles was published in 2010 and follows the principles of ISO 3864. Part two will be the catalogue of graphical symbols and part three covers the use of safety signs and symbols, these two parts are likely to be adopted soon.
International Maritime Organisation (IMO), safe condition, direction and fire control symbol signs will remain within the principles of the relevant IMO resolutions and will not be changing in the foreseeable future.
Source: Maritime Progress, May 2, 2012