When to Use Danger, Warning, Caution or Notice Labels

Arrow Right ImageSignal Word Definitions
The definitions below are based on the ANSI Z535.4 definitions for Safety Labels.

Danger Labels

Danger: Indicates a hazardous situation that, if not avoided, will result in death or serious injury. The signal word "DANGER" is to be limited to the most extreme situations.
Danger Safety Label
Tips Insider's Tips
Use Danger Labels for unguarded equipment, electrical and high voltage hazards, confined space entrances and lockout labels.
Safety labels using the Danger header are becoming less common when compared to those using the Warning header. It may be that more and more equipment has better safety guards in place. Or, it may that the narrower Danger definition from the ANSI standard (versus the traditional OSHA definition which allows for a far broader use) is swinging more designs away from the Danger signal word. In any case, limit Danger to the most dangerous or potentially lethal hazards

Warning Labels

Warning: Indicates a hazardous situation that, if not avoided, could result in death or serious injury.
Warning Label
Tips Insider's Tips
Use Warning Labels for machinery hazards; in practice, most labels you see around guarded equipment use the Warning Header. If you have a situation when your equipment is not guarded, use a Danger Label.
Warning should not be used for hazards that only cause equipment or property damage. Warning labels are used for personal injury risk. Typical uses are for moving parts, crush and pinch hazards, flying debris and arc flash hazards.

Caution Labels

Caution: Indicates a hazardous situation that, if not avoided, could result in minor or moderate injury.
Caution Safety Label
Tips Insider's Tips
Use a Caution label for hot surfaces, lifting instructions, low clearance, slips trips and minor corrosive dangers. It is also common to use Caution to define the requisite PPE to wear (gloves, dusk mask, etc.). The exception, of course, is that when there is a credible risk of lethal or serious injury. In such case, a label describing PPE instructions should be upgraded to a Warning header.

Notice Labels

Notice: Indicates information considered important but not hazard related.
Notice Safety Label
Tips Insider's Tips
Use for "Refer to Manual" instructions, housekeeping exhortations and security notices (show ID, no cameras and cell phones, etc.). Notice labels are often used for property damages.

Safety Instruction Labels

Safety Instructions: Indicates a type of safety [label], or a separate panel on a safety [label], where specific safety-related instructions or procedures are described.
Safety Instructions Label
Tips Insider's Tips
Don’t be afraid to change the headline here. Common headlines are for Safety First, Safety Equipment or Service Instructions. Modular design allows you to add Safety Instructions panel to the bottom of another label type.