ISO 7010: International Symbology on Machine Safety


When it comes to machine safety, it is necessary to rely on information systems based not on words, but on symbols: a universal language that is immediate and understandable by everyone. That is why ISO 7010 standard is essential.

Although a standardised system of safety signs cannot fully replace instructions for use, training and accident prevention, pictograms are very important when a risk to the operator remains.

ISO 7010 prescribes safety signs for accident prevention, fire protection, information on health risks and emergency evacuation. The shape and colour of each symbol need to be conform to ISO 3864-1, while the design must be conformed to ISO 3864-3.


Symbols are categorised according to their function; in particular:

E: safety condition signs, such as evacuation routes, location of safety equipment, safety facilities, safety actions (square and green)

F: fire equipment signs

M: mandatory action signs

P: prohibition signs

W: warning signs


ISO 7010 standard describes more than 250 signs; for each one, ISO 7010 indicates the category, the reference number, the textual explanation and a reproduction of the pictogram. However, some degree of graphical modifications is permitted when cultural differences need to be considered, provided the original meaning is retained and comprension of the sign is maintained. Of course, continued use of safety signs will increase international knowledge of them.

ISO 7010 also specifies that, in case one of the standardised signs does not indicate a particular desired message, it is possible to craft a new sign. The pictogram must follow the shape and colour requirements of ISO 3864-1 and 3864-3; alternatively, new pictograms can be created using the generic signs of ISO 7010 as a basis (M001, P001 e W001).

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