This study compared four formats for safety messages in printed manuals based on layouts found in a new standard of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI Z535.6, 2006). These four designs are specifically for use as section safety messages. Two used a signal word panel, and two used a safety alert symbol (exclamation in a triangle). The four formats were rated by 55 college students from three different classes using a five-point scale for hazardousness. All four messages were presented on the same page of a test booklet, with order balanced using a Latin Square. Results of a Friedman test indicated significant differences in ratings. The ranked order of the formats based on estimated median was yellow safety alert symbol left of the text (3.37), signal word in black panel above text (3.13), signal word in black panel imbedded in first line of text (2.87), and black hazard alert symbol left of the text (2.13). Post-hoc analyses of ratings using a Bonferroni test indicated the signs fit into three groups: the two highest rated signs, the second and third rated signs, and the lowest rated sign.
Jensen, R.C. and Jenrich, E. (2008). Formats for section safety messages in printed manuals. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 52, 1369-1374.