Push buttons, the essential tool used within machines to control various actions. When using pushbuttons, you can follow the IEC/EN 6024-1:2006+A1:2009 Safety of Machinery standard, if applicable. The standard outlines which types and colours of push buttons you should use and for what application.

What is a Push Button?

A push button is a simple switch that allows control over an action within a machine. The majority of push buttons manufactured comprise of high-quality plastics or metals. Push buttons can also come in a variety of shapes including; concaved to conform to fingers, convexed to fit your hand shape and flat buttons. Push buttons vary in shape, colour, size and features depending on the use case. Push buttons come in either normally open or normally closed types.

How a Push Button Works

A push button has three core parts, the actuator, stationary contacts and grooves. The actuator goes all the way through the switch body into a cylinder which contains a contact and spring, which when pressed touches the stationary contacts causing the button to trigger. Some push buttons require the user to hold the button or repeatedly push it to trigger the action. Some pushbuttons feature a latch which engages when the button is pushed and releases when the button is pressed again allowing for a constant connection.

What Are Push Buttons Used For?

Push buttons have many use cases including; simple on/off switches, emergency stop buttons and many more functions within both industrial and domestic environments. Some push buttons can connect using a mechanical linkage which allows another button to be released when another pushbutton is engaged.

Colour Standards

When choosing a push button for a start/on function, you should use white, grey, black or green buttons with a preference for white. You should not use red.

An emergency stop function should only use red coloured buttons, but you should not place it near any other red push buttons within a console.

When a stop or off button is required, you should use black, grey or white buttons with a preference for black buttons. You should never use green. However red is permitted, but should only be used when it is not in situ near any emergency stop buttons.

White, grey or black are preferred when a pushing button is being used for start/on and stop/off functions. Red, yellow and green shall not be used for these functions.

White, grey or black push buttons are the preferred colours for use when an operation is performed when the button is pressed but stopped when the button is released. You should not use the colours; red, yellow or green.

Reset push buttons can use blue, white, grey or black, where they also act as stop/off switches and white, grey or black are preferred with the main preference being black. Green buttons shall not be used.

When using the same colour (white, grey or black) for various functions, a supplementary coding should be used for identification of the push-button actuators, such as; shape, position and symbol.

In Summary

If the IEC/EN 6024-1:2006+A1:2009 Safety of Machinery standard applies to your application, it is vital that the right colours be in use to prevent confusion. This guide follows the latest standards document at the time of publication. This standard may change, and the official records should be followed during planning. We will endeavour to keep this guide up to date.

Button Colour Function
Start or On Function
Energebct Stop Function
Start or Off Function (Only used when not located near emergency stop)
Start or On Function
Stop or Off Function
Momentary Action
Reset
Reset
Start or On Function
Stop or Off Function
Momentary Action
Reset
Start or On Function
Stop or Off Function
Momentary Action
Reset