All on the Same Wave Length

At the end of the year 2010 we will see the implementation of a new standard for safety signs. The current standard is ISO 7010 which is soon to become ISO EN 7010. This means that safety signs within a workplace will change from being an 'international standard' to a 'European Normative', which is to be adopted by all member states. The purpose of ISO 7010, which was introduced in 2004, is that it '…prescribes safety signs for the purpose of accident prevention fire protection, health hazard information and emergency evacuation.' It was sought to harmonize the graphical symbols used in safety signs international, thus ensuring foreign nations are familiar with the safety information used and to understand their instructions.

During this the time of the release of the original ISO 7010 suggestion and review for improvement has been open and has resulted in its revisions and content addition. The likely outcome of the review is that this international standard is now a European Norm (ISO EN 7010) and will take it from being a 3rd party guide to being required to be written into every European Country's health and safety laws. They have already been phasing in the new designs so you will notice changes. Some changes are significantly obvious but others are so minor you mightn't even notice (see 'caution mind your head').

Such an event will have huge implications for premises across EU countries as it will essentially become illegal to use non-standardised signs. Places such as workplaces, event venues, eateries, shopping centres and many others will be required to replace all nonstandardised signs. Those responsible for fire safety in a premise should use such an event to consider the further implication of correct signage.

So what will it bring? For health & safety manager across Europe it will finally allow the use of a common platform of language in Safety Signs, normalised through Europe and regarded as best practice. Through a standardised, unambiguous set of pictograms, signs can inform us of important information relevant to our safety and instruct us when necessary to keep up safe.