How ‘The Running Man’ Changed Exit Signs in Australia

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How ‘The Running Man’ Changed Exit Signs in Australia

Over the past decade, you may have noticed a shift away from traditional exit signs which displayed the word ‘EXIT’ in bold typeface, to those with an image of what is known colloquially as ‘the running man’.

The shift away from the word ‘EXIT’ to a universally understood pictograph was codified in 2005 by the National Construction Code (Building Code of Australia) through the introduction of Australian Standard 2293, ‘Emergency escape lighting and exit signs for buildings’. These changes brought Australia into line with the international standards outlined in ISO3864-1.

Brilliant Lighting has long been at the forefront of lighting in Australia, with a history of helping builders, electricians, individuals, and corporate clients stay up-to-date with the best technology available. Brilliant’s Emergency Range utilises cutting-edge Lithium-ion technology in its emergency lighting batteries. Lithium-ion batteries are lightweight, energy efficient, and boast an extended battery life that outstrips traditional Nickel-cadmium batteries.

In 2018, Brilliant released its latest Emergency Lighting e-book, which features products ranging from exit signs to emergency LED lighting and pathfinding technology. Brilliant offers environmentally friendly LED exit signs which are easy to install, maintain, and adhere to the requirements set out in AS 2293. These include:

Blade: a streamlined and stylish Exit Sign for emergency lighting applications where aesthetics are everything.

One-Box: a general purpose, double or single-sided ceiling or wall mounted exit sign with emergency 2 hour battery pack for self-powered operation during power outages.

But where did ‘the running man’ come from, and why the shift?

Developed in the 1970s by famed Japanese designer Yukio Ota, ‘the running man’ has long been viewed as the clearest way to indicate emergency escape routes. The use of a symbol versus a word means that the sign is easily understood, even if you don’t speak the local language. The colour green is also an important feature of the design, as it is universally associated with safety, and, much like green traffic lights, tells the viewer to ‘go’.

In Australia, regulations allow for the use of three pictographs featuring ‘the running man’ alongside a left or right arrow indicating the best escape route, or a central image without an arrow indicating ‘straight ahead’:

Exit signs play an important role in keeping people safe, and WorkSafe Victoria advises that:

“If you have battery backup for illuminated exits signs, test the battery power regularly. Make sure emergency exits are unlocked, not blocked and exit signs are illuminated”

Installing a modern LED exit sign such as the Blade or One-Box gives builders, electricians, and commercial clients peace of mind, knowing that they are up-to-date with current Australian standards designed to keep the general public safe in emergency situations.

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