Machinery Safety Information

OSHA Safety Regulations for Industrial Machines and Equipment

Safety Warning Labels for Machines & Equipment


Even when appropriate design features and safety devices are incorporated into machinery, some residual risks may remain. Safety warning labels are one method to alert operators or other exposed people to these residual risks, instruct them on how to avoid the hazard, inform of the consequence of interaction with the hazard, and/or conveys the severity of the hazard.

OSHA regulates the use of Safety Warning Labels, Signs and Tags. These regulations can be found in CFR 1910.145. One important regulations is:

OSHA CFR 1910.145(f)(3): Tags shall be used as a means to prevent accidental injury or illness to employees who are exposed to hazardous or potentially hazardous conditions, equipment or operations which are out of the ordinary, unexpected or not readily apparent. Tags shall be used until such time as the identified hazard is eliminated or the hazardous operation is completed. Tags need not be used where signs, guarding or other positive means of protection are being used.

Location of Safety Labels

The Safety Warning Labels should be located in close proximity to the hazard, where it can be readily seen by the affected employee:

OSHA CFR 1910.145(f)(4)(vi) Tags shall be affixed as close as safely possible to their respective hazards by a positive means such as string, wire, or adhesive that prevents their loss or unintentional removal.

ANSI Z535.4  9.1 Location Product Safety signs and labels shall be placed such that they will: (1) be readily visible to the intended viewer and (2) alert the viewer to the potential hazard in time to take appropriate action.

Size of the Safety Warning Decals

Safety Warning Labels can be ordered in a variety of possible sizes (all labels can be ordered in several different sizes).  It is important for the size of the label to be large enough to warn the user before he/she encounters a hazardous situation. 

ANSI Z535.4 8.2.1 Lettering  Lettering shall be of a size that enables a person with normal vision, including corrected vision, to read the safety sign or label message panel text at a safe viewing distance from the hazard.

ANSI Z535.4 8.2.2 Determination of Safe Viewing Distance  Determination of safe viewing distance for the message panel text shall take into consideration a reasonable hazard avoidance reaction time.

Label Supplier

There are several label suppliers available. One particularly good choice is Clarion for general purpose safety labels, because they are offer one of the most complete catalogs of Safety Labels. Clarion labels can be found at

For conveyors, a good set of safety labels can be found at the Conveyor Equipment Manufactures Association (CEMA) website. These labels are specifically designed for conveyor applications. For a link to the CEMA website, click here.

For a 1-day training class on Safety Warning labels for Machines, Machinery, and Equipment, see Safety Warning Label Training

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