What Does The Red Calibration Sticker Mean?

Calibration is complete and you received your measurement & test equipment and are ready to place it in service. First things first.

Read The Calibration Report/Certificate

Calibration is the comparison of your measuring device against a known standard that is traceable through NIST( National Institute of Standards and Technology in the US) or another NMI(National Metrology Institute) to the SI unit.

If your device needed adjustment -  A STICKER ONLY will not inform you that adjustments were necessary.

A Sticker and Certificate without Data will not tell you how or what was  adjusted.

A Sticker with Certificate and Data without Measurement Uncertainty will not allow you to determine if the resolution between your device and the standard used in calibration is adequate to meet your risk requirements.

Review the calibration report and compare your device, typically called the UUT(Unit Under Test) to the standard and look at the deviation from the standard.  You need to do this even if you do not have a red sticker on your gage. Adjustable measurement & test equipment may arrive for calibration OOT (Out Of Tolerance) and adjusted into tolerance as part of the calibration process. If the UUT was OOT upon arrival, this may have an impact on its prior use in your process and possibly affect product quality. The Risk Management section of your Quality Management System should address this.This is one reason you should always review the calibration report/certificate.

You may want to read 3 Things You Need To Know About Risk, Calibration and ISO9001.

I See A Red Sticker. Now What?

At Alliance Calibration, we use a red calibration sticker to identify measurement & test equipment that did not meet specifications and could not be adjusted to meet specifications.

Should you just replace the gage?

Remember first things first. Review the data on the calibration report and determine if the device is still fit for your specific use.

For example: You have a 250 ft lb torque wrench and only use it from 50- 60 ft lb. Review of the calibration data shows it did meet specifications in this range, but did not meet specifications at 150 ft lb. Once again, you should refer to your Quality Management System on what the appropriate steps would be.


Why Do We Use A Red Sticker?

Color coding is a long established practice in quality. It is commonly used as part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) to prevent contamination. 5S floor markings also follow a color standard and RED is commonly use for Defects, scrap, rework, and red tag areas. 

"The use of a red border pictogram on labels is effective in communicating hazards to employees in a non-verbal means. Studies showed that the color red will make warnings more noticeable, because red borders are generally perceived to reflect the greatest degree of hazard. A warning label with a notable color will more likely grab the attention of the user faster and produce quicker reaction time. Allowing only a red border creates a degree of consistency in warnings to all labels that will ensure workers are protected."

Source: OSHA


Based on these common uses of color and specifically the color red, we chose to use a red sticker to assist in visually identifying measurement & test equipment that needs further attention.


Phil Wiseman

Phil Wiseman

Phil Wiseman is Chief Marketing Officer at Alliance Calibration. He earned a B.S. in Chemical Physics from Centre College. Phil is an ASQ Certified Quality Auditor and ASQ Certified Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence.

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