EN 981:1996+A1:2008

Safety of machinery - System of auditory and visual danger and information signals

Publication date:   Feb 27, 2009

General information

90.93 Standard confirmed   Sep 20, 2022


CEN/TC 122 Ergonomics

European Norm

13.110   Safety of machinery



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To reduce risks associated with misinterpretation of visual and auditory danger signals, a system of danger and information signals is specified taking into account the different degrees of urgency.
This European Standard is applicable to all danger and information signals which have to be clearly perceived and differentiated as specified in 5.3 of EN 292-2:1991, by other requirements or by the work situation, and to all degrees of urgency – from extreme urgency to an ALL CLEAR situation. Where visual signals are to be complementary to sound signals, the signal character is specified for both.
This European Standard does not apply to certain fields covered by specific standards or other conventions in force (international or national); in particular, fire alarms, medical alarms, alarms used in the field of public transport, navigation signals and signals for special fields of activity (for example, military). When new signals are being planned, however, this European Standard should be considered in order to avoid inconsistency.
For auditory signals, the system of signal character is a guideline for a signal language based on message categories which are classified according to urgency. Certain characters are specified for purposes which require safe and rapid recognition. Certain categories allow possibilities for variants, e.g. control and warning signals at workplaces where the signalling is intended for personnel with specific training.
For visual signals, the established meanings of the safety colours are not affected by this European Standard. For different needs, complementary meanings have been assigned to the signals by timed patterns, and in a very few cases by alternating colours.

Related legislation

Legislation related to this standard




Directive 2006/42/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 May 2006 on machinery, and amending Directive 95/16/EC (recast)


Life cycle


EN 981:1996+A1:2008
90.93 Standard confirmed
Sep 20, 2022