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About J.B. Titus

E-Stops Have A Yellow Background, Right?

November 03, 2009


You bet! Who could not possibly know by now that practically all electrical/safety/machine guarding standards now clearly call out that an emergency stop button must be red, mushroom shaped, and have a yellow background in order to be called an emergency stopping device? Well, to quote my four year old grandson - probably a trillionmegabazillion! You guessed it, he’s paying far too much attention to cable news lately. However, in my experience, I’ve been asked far too many times by engineers, maintenance, and plant operations personnel over recent years if they really need to update their operator stations to comply with this requirement? My answer has consistently been, yes - that is my recommendation. With the added caveat of course that this requirement is one of OSHA’s most frequent violations.

In my opinion, the intent behind this requirement is to unequivocally differentiate the e-stop button from other red devices in the area of the emergency stop device. Only when this requirement is complied with will the potential for hazardous mistakes be minimized. Several suppliers have developed solutions for this requirement that are relatively easy to apply in the field. But, the number one obstacle to compliance I’ve seen is awareness of the requirement. Hopefully this blog will help educate - and reduce hazards!

Posted by J.B. Titus on November 3, 2009

COMMENT

March 24, 2010

In response to: E-Stops Have A Yellow Background, Right?Rick T commented:

 

J.B.,

Thank you for sharing your considerable and relevant expertise on this forum.

I do have a question regarding functional marking of E-Stops.

I’ve been led to believe that having a yellow background only is sufficient for the E-stop switch(es). Is this true, or does a function label, by way of text, or symbol, have to be used along with the yellow background? The rational I heard for not using additional text or the international symbol is that the E-stop switch with its yellow background, is unique enough and easily recognizable internationally, i.e. identification is no problem anywhere.

Is this true and what is thought on the issue?

Thank you.



For more than 30 years, J.B. Titus has advised a wide range of clients on machine functional safety solutions, including Johnson & Johnson, Siemens, General Motors, Disney, Rockwell Automation, Bridgestone Firestone, and Samsung Heavy Industries. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Oklahoma University in industrial management and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University in marketing and finance. He is a professional member of the American Society of Safety Engineers and is OSHA-certified in machine guarding. Titus is also TUV-certified as a Functional Safety Expert and serves on several American National Standards Institute, National Fire Protection Association, and National Electrical Manufacturers Association national safety and health standards committees. Reach him at jb(at)jbtitus.com and via www.jbtitus.com.