Over the next few months we will see the adoption of a new standard for safety signs as ISO 7010 is soon to become Pr EN 7010. The change will see safety signs in the workplace move away from being an “International standard” (essentially a recommendation on best practice), to a European norm (meaning the contents of the standard must be written into UK and EU law). ISO 7010 has been developed to provide consistency in design across the EU. We will be phasing in the new designs throughout 2011 and you may notice some design changes to the symbols whereas others will look virtually unchanged. Whilst the new symbols will be replacing the old designs, both designs will still meet your safety obligations.
ISO 7010 – An Overview.
In the late seventies, 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 real problem communicating health and safety issues.
It was decided to create an international standard based on pictograms. This lead to the publishing, in 1984, of the first health and safety standard; ISO 3864-Safety Colours and Safety Signs, which is still current today and is the basis for both ISO 7010 and BS 5499.
Because ISO 3864 was not grounded in law, it did not become established across the EU. So, in 1992, a European Directive based on ISO 3864 was passed, which made it a legal requirement for member states to write the requirements into their countries health and safety legislation, this was EC Directive 92/58/EEC.
In the UK this took the form of the “Health & Safety (Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996.
The Directive was a bit vague regarding the symbols to be used and soon a variety of different symbols had developed across Europe, the “Euro” fire exit symbol being a good example.
The situation regarding these symbols now needed to be rectified.
Here in Britain, this lead to the revision of the previous standard and in 2002, BS5499:2002 Graphical Symbols and Signs, was issued.
The need for correct pictograms across Europe was now evident and so the International Standards Organisation were compelled to update their own standards and so, using BS 5499 as a basis, they split ISO 3864 into two parts:
ISO 3864:2002 – covering shape and colours, as before.
ISO 7010:2003 – covering pictograms.
As previously seen in the Eighties, for these changes to have any impact, it would be necessary to write this standard into law, which is the process we are in the middle of now.
Making ISO 7010 into an EN, means that the status of the standard will change from being a recommendation of best practice, to a European Norm, requiring that the contents of the Standard are written, without change, into all EU countries laws.
This means that there will be a legal requirement for the same sign to be used in every country for the same requirement.
It will mean that a fire exit sign in England will be the same as it would be in France, Spain, Germany or anywhere at all within the EU.
ISO 7010 – A Brief History – milestone timeline
Late seventies – large migratory workforce in the EEC
1978 – BS 5499 – Fire Safety Signs, Notices and Graphic Symbols
1992 – EC Directive 92/58/EEC
1996 – “The Health & Safety (Signs and Signals) Regulations
2002 – BS 5499:2002 – Graphical Symbols and Signs
2003 – ISO 3864:2002 and ISO 7010:2003
our new 2011 catalogue is has been completely updated to include the NEW ISO 7010 safety symbols