Signs are a crucial part of health and safety in and around the workplace. The standard BS EN ISO 7010 for safety signs is still relatively new and many questions about it need clarification.
In the late 70’s, as the European Community was coming into being, it was recognised that with a large migratory workforce within the EU countries there would be a significant problem communicating health and safety issues. It was decided to create an international standard based on pictograms. This led to the publishing of the first health and safety standard in 1984; ISO 3864-Safety Colours and Safety Signs.
This ISO standard is still utilised today and is used as a basis for the current EN 7010 standard and BS 5499.
What is ISO 7010?
The ISO 7010 is an international standard for consistent safety sign regulation across Europe.
“ISO 7010:2011 prescribes safety signs for the purposes of accident prevention, fire protection, health hazard information and emergency evacuation. The shape and colour of each safety sign are according to ISO 3864-1 and the design of the graphical symbols is according to ISO 3864-3.”*
*The International Organisation for Standardisation (http://www.iso.org/iso/home.html)
When was this regulation implemented?
EN 7010 follows the 2003 introduction of ISO 7010 which was created to define internationally recognised symbols on safety signs. British-based businesses, however, continued to abide by the UK’s own standard until recently. In 2013 the law changed, turning ISO 7010 from a ‘best practice recommendation’ to a ‘European Normative’ that was to become EN 7010.
This means that there is a legal requirement for the same sign to be used in every country for the same requirement. It means that a fire exit sign in England will be the same as it would be in France, Spain, Germany or indeed anywhere within the EU.
Do signs need to be upgraded?
There is no need for businesses in the UK to panic as currently, you are under no legal obligation to change your signs. For the time being, you can keep your old signs according to the previous BS 5499, however, it is recommended to upgrade your signs sooner rather than later due to the functionality and practicability of the new signs.
When looking to purchase new signs for a new build project, however, you should opt for EN 7010 symbols, and you should not mix different sign formats on the same site.
Are mixed symbols allowed?
It is highly recommended by Health and Safety Guidance that the two different types of signs, BS 5499 and EN 7010, should not be mixed in the workplace. If you wish to use signs in accordance with best practice it is best not to mix symbols from old and new standards. Particularly in critical situations, signs marking fire escape routes, for example, can save lives. In this scenario, different signs may lead to confusion.
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As a leading supplier, Ringtail Lightings legend panels are compliant with the EN 7010 standard, eliminating the need to worry about compliance yourself. We can offer luminaires and legend panels to suit various installation criteria and viewing distances, and bespoke panels can be offered if required to your specific requirements.
To discuss your company’s compliance with the EN 7010 regulations or any other questions regarding emergency lighting visit www.ringtail.co.uk and a member of Ringtail’s experienced team will be happy to help.