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 Post subject: label colors instead of category
PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2014 6:47 am 

Joined: Wed Oct 01, 2008 6:05 am
Posts: 27
We have become accustomed to seeing Category 0,1,2,3 from a distance on our (custom) equipment labels (Very visible) and with the new standard (we will be putting incident energy and working distance on the labels instead) we are wondering if color coding the label tape would accomplish the same recognition and still be compliant. Does anyone see a problem with using white for <=1.2 cal/cm2, yellow for 1.2-12cal/cm2, orange for >12 cal/cm2 and red for extreme danger?
Thank you!


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 Post subject: Re: label colors instead of category
PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2014 6:55 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 6:31 am
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Location: Port Huron, Michigan
As long as you are listing the items required under 130.1(D)(3)(c), I think color coding categories is a good idea and would be in compliance with 70E. Your colors would correspond to the Site-specific level of PPE option.


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 Post subject: Re: label colors instead of category
PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2014 9:54 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2007 5:00 pm
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Location: Scottsdale, Arizona
Voltrael's comment is a good one - in that the minimum of the NFPA 70E label requirements must be included.

Color coding is a great concept.

Just make sure you coordinate with with the correct Signal Words (caution, danger, etc.) from ANSI Z535.

CAUTION (Yellow color): Indicates a hazardous situation which, if not avoided, could result in minor or moderate injury.

WARNING (Orange color): Indicates a hazardous situation that, if not avoided, could result in death or serious injury.

DANGER (Red color): Indicates a hazardous situation that, if not avoided, will result in death or serious injury.

The article below that summarizes what some people are doing might help.

Label Color Coding Article

Good Luck!


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 Post subject: Re: label colors instead of category
PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2014 2:09 pm 
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Location: North Carolina
Having any label is better than none.

Having it specifically follow a standard (Z535) has been shown to have no value.
"Safety Signs & Labels: Does compliance with ANSI Z535 increase compliance with warnings?"
-Comprehensive review of a lot of actual research that determined that there is nothing magic about Z535 or pretty much any other sign as long as it is legible.
-Compliance is only 20-50% at best.
-Most might read the signs but few comply.
-Testing on which sign is "preferred" leans towards ANSI Z535 but compliance testing makes no difference as to sign format (it makes them feel good) compared to a generic two-tone text-only sign.


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 Post subject: Re: label colors instead of category
PostPosted: Mon Dec 08, 2014 7:24 am 

Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2009 12:39 am
Posts: 5
Sorry, but I have to disagree with the majority on this topic. We’ve always used the “DANGER” signal word on a red field for all of our combined arc-flash and shock hazard labels. The PPE listed is for both shock and arc-flash which is exactly what the worker needs to know. Think back, have you ever seen anything except a red “DANGER -- HIGH VOLTAGE” sign? There’s always the shock hazard and it isn’t reduced based on the arc-flash IE. Oh, and we’ve also adopted the best practice of outlining the letters in the word DANGER in black so that if the red ever fades in the sun, the signal word is still visible.


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 Post subject: Re: label colors instead of category
PostPosted: Mon Dec 08, 2014 7:26 am 
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Location: Port Huron, Michigan
mcqj wrote:
Sorry, but I have to disagree with the majority on this topic. We’ve always used the “DANGER” signal word on a red field for all of our combined arc-flash and shock hazard labels. The PPE listed is for both shock and arc-flash which is exactly what the worker needs to know. Think back, have you ever seen anything except a red “DANGER -- HIGH VOLTAGE” sign? There’s always the shock hazard and it isn’t reduced based on the arc-flash IE. Oh, and we’ve also adopted the best practice of outlining the letters in the word DANGER in black so that if the red ever fades in the sun, the signal word is still visible.


One possibility would be to leave the orange or red banner at the top, and make the rest of the label color coded. Most labels I have seen decide whether to use red or orange for the DANGER based on the incident energy available, irregardless of the voltage present.


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 Post subject: Re: label colors instead of category
PostPosted: Mon Dec 08, 2014 8:29 am 

Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:24 am
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Interesting discussion. Also NEC 110.16 references both NFPA 70E and ANSI Z535.4. It is in the notes so it is not mandatory. I think when you use the terminology arc flash warning labels that implies to use the ANSI warning requirements. ANSI also specifies a white background with black letters or a black background with white letters as well as visibility requirements. When you get into the danger issue for voltage, (these are arc flash labels with reference to shock protection), the danger high voltage designation references voltages above 600 volts, or 1000 volts, depending on who what you look at, but high voltage does not apply to most applications (480 volts). It is common to use the red danger label when the incident energy exceeds 40 calories. I think we need to keep the arc flash issues as the primary function for the labels.


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 Post subject: Re: label colors instead of category
PostPosted: Mon Dec 08, 2014 9:19 am 
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NEC requires the word "DANGER" where wiring over 600-1000 V nominal is.accessible in some way. This is clearly a case of a clear and eminent danger unless contact is avoided. This is very different from instance with arc flash where if conditions are right, it might happen. Thus the difference between "DANGER" for emininent shock hazards, and lesser "WARNING" signs for arc flash and other hazars where the likelihood is low.

E.G. 110.34(C): "The entrance to all buildings, vaults, rooms, or enclosures containing exposed live parts or exposed conductors operating at over 600 volts"...

300.34 (>1 kV wiring section): "Warning signs shall be conspicuously posted at points of access to conductors in all conduit system s and cable systems. The warning sign(s) shall be legible and permanent and shall carry the following wording"...
referring to direct access to conductors.

314.72 for junction/pull boxes over 1 kV, section (E): "Covers for boxes shall be permanently marked “DANGER —
HIGH VOLTAGE — KEEP OUT.” The marking shall be on the outside of the box cover and shall be readily visible."

399.20(H) for high voltage cable trays: "Cable trays containing conductors rated over 600 volts shall have a permanent, legible warning notice carrying the wording “DANGER — HIGH VOLTAGE — KEEP AWAY” placed in a readily visible position on all cable trays, with the spacing of warning notices not to exceed 3 m (10 ft)."...

490.35: "Doors that would provide unqualified persons access to high-voltage energized parts shall be locked. Permanent signs in accordance with 110.21(B) shall be installed on panels or doors that provide access to live parts over 1000 volts and shall read DANGER — HIGH VOLTAGE— KEEP OUT ...


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