A Guide to Photoluminescent Material

A Guide to photoluminescent MaterialThrough the group of companies that make up Warnstar Sign and Print, we manufacture our own photoluminescent material and produce a wide range of safety signs and safety way guidance systems for both the terrestrial and marine markets.

 

What is photoluminescence?

Photoluminescence is the phenomenon whereby luminescence (spontaneous emission of light by a substance not resulting from heat; or “cold light”) is induced by the absorption of visible light, UV or infrared radiation.

Often abbreviated as PL, Photoluminescence is light emission from any form of matter after the absorption of photons (electromagnetic radiation). It is one of many forms of luminescence (light emission) and is initiated by photoexcitation (i.e. photons that excite electrons to a higher energy level in an atom), hence the prefix photo-.  However, it is a non-radioactive process and requires no battery back-up and has almost unlimited charge and discharge cycles.

In a more simplified explanation, a photoluminescent material absorbs and stores photons (‘particles’ of light) from a light source. When that light source is removed, the stored energy is released as visible light and ‘glows in the dark’.

The ‘glow in the dark’ properties make it very useful for manufacturing safety products, especially signs and safety way guidance systems. In the event of light failure, photoluminescent safety signs and products are still visible for a certain length of time.

There are different grades of material depending on how bright the glow is and how long it lasts at a certain level before fading. The photoluminescence of signage products is renewable. Once the light source is re-instated the product is re-charged.

 

The Grades of Photoluminescent Material

The Photoluminescent Safety Products Association (PSPA) classification system is based on luminance decay data as given when tested according to ISO 17398 (also ISO 16069) illuminated with 1000 lux from Xenon D75 (Daylight) source for 5 minutes (very similar to DIN 67510 Part 1 and ASTM E 2073-10 also with this illumination and time.

A Guide to photoluminescent Material

Legislation says that terrestrial-based safety products have to be manufactured from grade/Class C photoluminescent material to be compliant with BS ISO  16069, although for marine environments Class B is the accepted norm.

 

 

Safety & Traceability of Your Photoluminescent Products?

Unlike many signage manufacturers, we don’t just print photoluminescent signs, we also manufacture A Guide to photoluminescent Materialthe material too. Our Telglow™ material is used to manufacture a wide range of safety products and SWGs and as an ISO 9001:2015 accredited company, we can produce a cost-effective product with full traceability.

 

The Standards & Legislation

The following standards are those most relevant for use in terrestrial applications.

BS ISO 16069:2017 Graphical Symbols – Safety Signs – Safety way guidance systems (SWGS)

A safety way guidance system coordinates a complex range of safety products in order to provide a continuous and conspicuous, unbroken route to safety that allows people to evacuate occupied areas with minimum risk. ISO 16069 indicates when and where it is appropriate to use photoluminescent materials as part of an SWGS and defines minimum performance requirements for this application.

DIN 67510 Phosphorescent Pigments and Products

This German standard is the industry norm for the measurement and assessment of photoluminescent products. DIN 67510 Part 1 defines a method where samples are exposed for 5 minutes to a Xenon light source delivering

1000lux of light energy. The light is extinguished and the afterglow measured in millicandella’s per m² (mcd/m²) at defined time intervals, until extinction is achieved at a level of 0.32 mcd/m².

DIN 67510 Part 4 defines performance levels and is used by ISO16069 to specify minimum performance requirements. When tested to DIN 67510-1 the photoluminescent must have a minimum luminance, after withdrawal of the excitation light source, of 20 mcd/² at 10 minutes, 2.8 mcd/² at 60 minutes and a minimum time to 0.32mcd/m² of 340 minutes. This information is usually annotated as follows: 20/2.8 – 340 / DIN67510-1.

If you would like advice on choosing the right photoluminescent products for you, please get in touch Tel 01737 762400.

Warning Signs: Hazard Signs: Yellow or Amber Safety Signs

Warning Signs: Hazard Signs: Yellow or Amber Safety SignsOne of the most commonly used type of safety signs are the yellow or amber safety signs which are used to warn the viewer of a particular hazard. There are strict specifications for the design and display of these signs and symbols.

According to regulations, the design of the sign must include a triangular pictogram of the hazard in black on yellow, where the yellow background takes up more than 50% of the symbol but with a thick black outline. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure all staff understand the meaning of all safety signs displayed on the premises even if the sign’s message appears to be obvious to some.

Supplementary text is often useful in adding clarity to the safety message. The older safety sign legislation BS 5499 standard which has now been succeeded by BS EN ISO 7010: 2011 Graphical symbols – Safety colours and safety signs, uses a useful three tier risk level system. BS 5499 identified 3 levels of risk used to define the level of severity of the hazard, Danger, Warning and Caution.

 

DANGER (High Level of Risk) means if the danger is not avoided, it will cause death or serious injury.

WARNING (Medium Level of Risk) means if the warning is not heeded, it can cause death or serious injury.

CAUTION (Low Level of Risk) means if the precaution is not taken, it may cause minor or moderate injury.

 

The latest ISO BS EN 7010:2011 legislation has further simplified hazard signs to all read as ‘warning’  relying on the viewer to determine the level of risk. So while all signs are compliant there will be a move towards just ‘warning’ signs over time. At present both forms are acceptable but it is advised that BS EN ISO 7010 and BS 5499 graphical symbols and safety signs should not be mixed within the same workplace. When replacing a sign consideration should be given to this fact.

More information covering the legislation covering Hazard Safety Signs can be found here.

Are you ready? – HSE Health and safety spot checks and inspections during coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Health and Safety Executive is carrying out spot checks and inspections on all types of businesses in all Are you ready? – HSE Health and safety spot checks and inspections during coronavirus (COVID-19)areas to ensure they are COVID-secure. Inspectors will make COVID-secure checks as part of their normal role in visiting workplaces during the pandemic.

The inspectors are making sure businesses are operating in line with Government Guidance and ensuring they are Covid Secure. This means carrying out a Covid Risk Assessment, maintaining social distancing, keeping your workplace clean with handwashing and hygiene procedures.

A video explaining the HSE Spot Checks and Inspections during Coronavirus can be found below:

 

Where businesses are not managing the risks of spreading coronavirus the HSE will take immediate action, by providing advice, stopping certain work practices until they are made safe, issuing enforcement notices, prosecuting where a business fails to comply.  We have a full range of signs and safety products that can help ensure you comply which can be found in our Covid Products Catalogue or for businesses looking to re-open at the end of lockdown we have Back To Work Brochure.

If you are unsure of what signs or Covid prevention signs you may need, please call our team for advice: Tel    01737 762 400