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Making Your Own Electrical Safety Labels/Signs: Is it Legal?

If you’re a facility or organization that relies on electricity, you probably need safety labels for your electrical equipment. The question is, can you make your own? 

Yes, making your own electrical safety signs is completely legal. OSHA’s rules for electrical safety give the basic requirements for making your own safety labels and signs. 

Continue reading if you’re interested in making your own electrical safety signs and labels. We’ll give you advice on how to do it.

Need help creating your own electrical safety tags and labels, or building up your electrical safety program? Turn your uncertainty into 100% confidence by requesting an electrical safety quote. 

Can You Make Your Own Electrical Safety Signs?

Yes, you can design your own electrical safety signs as long as it is in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.145 of OSHA’s guidelines and NEC (the National Electrical Code). You can also refer to ANSI Z535 standards for safety signs and colors.

As a general rule, signs must: 

  1. Be of sufficient durabilities, such as being printed with an industrial label printer.
  2. Have special protection as needed, such as being UV ray resistant, washdown resistant, laminated, aluminum, along with others.
  3. Be immediately recognizable with clear text.
  4. Have headers that include the nature of the risk itself (e.g., danger/caution/warning).
  5. Have colors and symbols that are clear and universal for hazard identification.

Electrical hazard, high voltage, and arc flash labels should be specially designed to keep  a clear and concise format that enables immediate recognition through the use of signal words, safety alert symbols, and specific hazard information.

Headers should be chosen based on the nature of the risk itself (e.g., danger/caution/warning), while label messages should begin with urgent information before providing direct instructions in a simple-to-read font.

Images should also be clear and universal, including basic go-to symbols such as a triangle for a hazard, a circle with a slash for prohibited access, and so on. 

Do I Need Arc Flash Labels?

Yes, you do need arc flash labels. Arc flash labeling is the responsibility of the company, rather than an equipment manufacturer or installer. 

The NFPA 70E, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace 130.5 (H) states:

“Electrical equipment such as switchboards, panelboards, industrial control panels, meter socket enclosures, and motor control centers that are in other than dwelling units and that are likely to require examination, adjustment, servicing, or maintenance while energized shall be marked with a label containing all the following information: 

  1. Nominal system voltage 
  2. Arc flash boundary 
  3. At least one of the following: 
    1. Available incident energy and the corresponding working distance, or the arc flash PPE category in Table 130.7(C)(15)(a) or Table 130.7(C)(15)(b) for the equipment, but not both. 
    2. Minimum arc rating of clothing. 
    3. Site-specific level of PPE.”

Have questions about arc flash labels? Ask our electrical safety experts. Call us at (816) 734-8300.

Do Electrical Disconnects Need Labeling?

Yes, all electrical disconnects will need labeling. 

As of 2020, NEC 110.22(A) General outlines that disconnecting means should be legibly marked to indicate their purpose unless they are located and arranged so that purpose is already evident. 

So, where do you apply the labels? 

The best place to apply electrical disconnect labels is anywhere it can be read without opening the equipment and being exposed to the hazards within the shock and arc flash approach boundaries. This could be just a few feet, or greater than 20 feet! 

Avoid placing a label over the manufacturer’s listing label as well, as this is also a requirement.

The Top 5 Electrical Safety Labels Needed for Your Safety Program

OSHA and ANSI have established three primary severity classifications for signs that can better help you to identify how and what you should label. All facilities need to have safety labels, signs, and warnings in order to maintain a quality electrical safety program.

Here are the top five labels you should consider applying: 

  1. Arc Flash and Shock Hazard (Warning and Danger Signs): These are the signs that describe hazards that could result in serious injury or death
  2. DANGER High Voltage (Danger Signs): Signs that highlight serious hazards requiring special precautions
  3. Caution Signs: Cautions regarding electrical hazards that could result in minor injuries if not avoided
  4. Lockout/Tagout Signs: Signs to ensure that equipment is shut down and inoperable until maintenance or repair work is completed
  5. Electrical Hazard KEEP OUT Signs: Signs to keep unauthorized personnel away from electrical equipment 

The specific labels needed for your safety program are going to vary a great deal depending on your equipment, your business environment, and even the specific approach that you’ve chosen to take to signage in general. 

Summary

Electrical safety signs give important information to workers and are also required by a variety of laws and standards. They can also be one of the most efficient tools in a facility manager’s toolkit. 

During the design stages, make sure that your electrical identification labels adhere to compliance and regulation.

To make things simple, you can outsource your electrical signage and program needs to experienced electrical engineers.

Turn your electrical safety uncertainty into 100% confidence and compliance by enrolling your team in our Full-Service Online Training Portal.

Request access to our training portal. If you don’t see results within 30 days*, the platform is free for the first year. 

Prefer talking on the phone? Call us at (816) 734-8300.

*Discuss with our sales team for full details.