Photoluminescent labels, signs and path markings

  • January 27, 2009
  • News

January 27, 2009 – A white paper called “Photoluminescent Labels, Signs, and Path Markings” is now available by request from Graphic Products. The white paper—written specifically for safety professionals—provides information on photoluminescent technology, discusses NFPA 101 and local and state requirements, and outlines the benefits of using photoluminescent supply. Addressing the topic of photoluminescent, or phosphorescent, technology in relation to label, sign and path markings is especially needed today because, effective at the beginning of 2009, changes to the NFPA 101 code require photoluminescent marking of exit stair pathways in all buildings of all sizes. “While photoluminescent technology has been around for years, safety professionals in all industries should brush up on how phosphorescent labels and signs saves lives in cases of a power outage or smoke obstruction,” said Steve Hudgik, marketing manager at Graphic Products. The white paper provides a basic understanding of photoluminescence and delves into the three key factors that affect the luminance of labels, signs, and path markings. It also states that the purpose of photoluminescent technology is not to illuminate a specific area but to outline an area and provide information, direction, and assurance when light sources fail. To illustrate the importance of photoluminescent labels, signs, and path markings, the white paper cites a study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology that conducted an in-depth study of the 9/11 World Trade Center disaster. In it, the NIST found that 50% of survivors in WTC1 and WTC2 combined reported they were helped by photoluminescent markings. According to Hudgik, changes to the codes in NFPA 101 mean that labeling and marking areas of hazard with photoluminescent materials has never been more imperative. “This one major event has acted as a springboard for others across the country to earnestly promote photoluminescent materials as effective aids that prevent injury and death in emergency situations,” said Hudgik. The white paper discusses additional organizations, municipalities, and states that have also begun reviewing current safety standards regarding requirements of photoluminescent markings. Some of these include the International Building Code (IBC), the City of Chicago, and the State of Connecticut. Although a complete list is provided, some of the facilities that most often use photoluminescent labels and signs include airports, military bases, high-rise buildings, theaters, schools, care centers, parking garages, and industrial buildings. Typical photoluminescent label, sign, and path marking applications include exit signs, directional arrows, machinery labels, emergency phones, stairwells, handrails, and protruding objects, for example. Graphic Products recommends the free white paper to all who are responsible for the safety of workers, building occupants, and the public in general.

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