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How to Make OSHA Signs

free guide OSHA Safety Signs
Free OSHA Safety Best Practices Guide

Written by Steve Hudgik

The biggest concerns are to use the correct colors for the type of sign, and that the message be concise, clear and easy-to-read. When creating standard types of OSHA signs, such as “Danger, High Voltage” this is easy. We've all seen these signs many times and know what they look like. However, you should be familiar with ANSI Z535, which has the specific requirements for safety signs.

OSHA signs have two parts. A color header and a white body. For danger signs, for example, the header is red and the body of the sign is white. For caution signs the header is yellow and the body of the sign is white. This means OSHA signs require printing in two colors. Since nearly all label and sign printers are monochrome printers, how are OSHA signs printed?

Safety Sign Best Practices Guide

A complete reference guide to OSHA Sign Making

Using Die-Cut, Two-Color Labels

A number of label printer manufacturers offer two-color die-cut labels. The colored header is pre-printed on the die-cut label. The label could be printed using a black ribbon to add the signal word in the header and the message in the body of the label. However, this will not be an OSHA compliant danger sign because the signal word should be printed in white on the red background.

To make an OSHA sign, you'll need to use die-cut labels, such as those from DuraLabel, that include the signal word pre-printed in the header. This provides, for example, the word “DANGER” printed in white on the red header.

But this presents another problem. Die-cut labels are typically only available in sizes up to 4” x 6”. That's fine for making OSHA labels, but that's far from being big enough for a sign. DuraLabel is the only printer brand that has a solution. With DuraLabel you can get die-cut signs with pre-printer headers up to 8.8” x 12.8” in size. Now we're talking OSHA signs that are compliant and get the job done.

Using Two-Color Vinyl

DuraLabel innovation has created another product that can be used for making OSHA signs. Two-color vinyl provides white vinyl with a color stripe along the top. The stripe is available in a number of widths. This allows OSHA signs of any width, and heights of up to nine inches to be easily printed. It's a great way to make custom OSHA signs, and is ideal for caution and warning signs. But, with OSHA danger signs needing white printing on the red header what do you do? And what if you need an OSHA sign that is more than nine inches tall? There are situations when a 24” x 36” danger sign may be needed.

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DuraLabel printers

With DuraLabel printers OSHA signs can be made using multiple sections of vinyl. DuraLabel printers will automatically tile larger signs such that the printing is divided across several sections of vinyl. Let's use a 12” x 18” OSHA sign as an example, and use a 4” DuraLabel printer to make this OSHA sign.

First print the header. This will be a single 18” long section of white vinyl printed with a red ribbon. The word “DANGER” is printed in reverse. That means what will come out of the printer will be a red background printed on white vinyl and leaving the word “DANGER” in white letters.

Next layout the text to be printed in the white section of the danger sign. Use a template that is 8” x 18”. When it is printed the DuraLabel printer will make two sections of 4” x 18” vinyl with the text divided across the two sections.

Now apply the three sections of vinyl to a 12” x 18” sign blank and you have your OSHA sign. It's fully OSHA compliant. It's big, it's durable and it's easy-to-read.

For more information about DuraLabel printers call 1-888-326-9244 today. Ask about our special kits for making OSHA signs.

The information presented in this document was obtained from sources that we deem reliable; Graphic Products does not guarantee accuracy or completeness. Graphic Products, Inc. makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied. Users of this document should consult municipal, state, and federal code and/or verify all information with the appropriate regulatory agency.

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