Old style exit sign with white lettering saying EXIT on green sign

A Non-Inclusive and Discriminatory Approach

The ISO/TC 145/SC2 Technical Committee for ISO 7010 says that there will be a hazard if occupants are not able to “locate an escape route to a place of safety which is provided for evacuation in the event of an emergency.[1] Furthermore, the committee states the human behaviour that is intended to be caused after understanding the safety sign’s meaning is to be aware of the location of an escape route to a place of safety in the event of an emergency.

With that in mind, it must be acknowledged that the use of the Running Man image, or for that matter the word “EXIT”, does not consider those people with a mobility impairment who deserve the same rights as any other building occupant, including knowing where an accessible means of egress is located. On this basis, the intent of the image is not meeting its full potential or purpose, as defined by the ISO committee, in that there will be a small proportion of people who will not be aware of the location of an escape route suitable for their needs.

A more inclusive approach is therefore proposed to cater for everyone adopting the principles of universal design. It has now been argued that the reliance on this Running Man sign alone to designate exits is out-dated and discriminatory, with many countries mandating legislation for disability rights after the year of design and adoption of the Running Man exit sign. In other words – it’s time for a change, a change for an inclusive design.

Chinese Department Store Exit Signs

[1] ISO 7010:2011 – E001, https://www.iso.org/obp/ui#iso:grs:7010:2:E001, viewed 9 September 2015

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Buildings need exit and emergency signs to identify parts of the accessible means of egress. An Accessible Exit Sign Project Initiative.

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