About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2016 Proceedings
Publication year: 2016
Pages: 7385-7392
ISBN: 978-84-608-5617-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2016.0743
Conference name: 10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2016
Location: Valencia, Spain
The understanding of safety pictograms is an important part of our quotidian life and imperative factor in workplace, public areas and on products, since its correct understanding contributes to the knowledge of the risks involved in activities, promotion of preventive measures and reducing the risk of accidents. So, safety pictograms are a way to call attention quickly and clearly, for objects and risk situations [1],[2],[3].
The safety pictograms are classified in different categories that must be recognized by the shape, colour and type of the pictogram, according to international rules, namely, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). That classification has different means, like, “warning”, “prohibition”, “mandatory action”, “safe condition” and “substance identification”. However, in various studies it appears that people do not always recognize the sign nor the type of safety message [1],[2],[3].
The correct identification of safety pictograms can depend of several factors, which may include, age, gender, education and previous knowledge.
The present study has evaluated the safety pictograms perception by the student community attending higher education, in different areas of education, with ages higher than 18 years. The study has taken attention to the gender, students and workers, and level of degree. In this study about 170 of surveys were considered focusing on students of Polytechnic Institute of Leiria, Portugal.
The aim of the study was to evaluate the perception of the hazard category, as well as the meaning of the pictogram. The methodology used in this study is based on ISO 9186, classifying the perception of signs in different categories [4]. Five categories were applied for analysis of our survey: “Correct understanding of the symbol is certain”, “Correct understanding of the symbol is very probable or probable”, “The meaning which is stated is the opposite to that intended”, “Any other response”, and “Don’t know or No response is given”. This work will form the basis for future studies that we plan to implement over the next year, covering a larger number of individuals.
The knowledge of understanding of safety pictograms by the students in actual life and their future workplace is crucial for the prevention of accidents and protecting health-care workers has the added benefit to contributing to quality life. The results of this study may be used in the improvement of program contents of the subjects about safety pictograms in high level degree courses, allowing students to have better behaviour in their future workplace.

[1] Davies, S., Haines, H., Norris, B. and Wilson, J. R. (1998). Safety pictograms: are they getting the message across?. Applied Ergonomics, 29(1), pp 1523.
[2] Su, T. and Hsu, I. (2008). Perception towards chemical labeling for college students in Taiwan using Globally Harmonized System. Safety Science 46, pp 1385–1392.
[3] Boelhouwer, E., Davis, J., Franco-Watkins, A., Dorris N. and Lungu C. (2013). Comprehension of hazard communication: effects of pictograms on safety data sheets and labels. J Safety Res. 46, pp.145-155.
[4] Foster, J. (2001). Graphical symbols. ISO Bulletin, December, pp. 11-13.
safety pictograms, education, workplace, accidents prevention.