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Most studies of warning signs involve undergraduate students as subjects. This paper reports a direct comparison of findings from an undergraduate population and an employed population. The 48 employed subjects from this study were compared with 59 undergraduate subjects from a companion study. Subjects from both populations were shown the same signs and asked to rate the severity level connoted by each sign. The signs differed only in signal word. Results for each population indicated that signal word had a highly significant effect on severity ratings. When the two populations were compared for ratings of each signal word, the only significant difference was for Caution. Median ratings of each population were the same: Deadly (4), Danger (3), Warning (2), Caution (1), and Notice (0).


Originally presented in The Proceeding of the XVIII Annual International Occupational Ergonomics and Safety Conference 2004.