• Spanish physician and botanist Nicolas Monardes discovered a material that is now known as fluorescence. This discovery led to the research around glow in the dark materials, what led to the invention of photoluminescent.


  • Publication of the paper ‘On the refrangibility of Light’ by Sir George Gabriel Stokes, Physicist and professor of mathematics at Cambridge. In this paper he introduce the word fluorescence. This paper is very imported for the development of afterglow materials.


  • The first time resolved photoluminescence experiment by Edmond Becquerel. This was a breakthrough in the development of photoluminescent materials.


  • Luminescenz is introduced by the German physicist and science historian Eilhard Wiedeman.


  • The difference between phosphorescence and fluorescence is explained by Francis Perrin.


  • The idea of using photoluminescent safety marking as an aid or an alternative to emergency lightning has been introduced.


  • Electrically powered pathway marking required on commercial aircraft by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).


  • Haunted House fire at Great Adventure Amusement Park killed eight. The Life Safety Code (NFPA 101) was subsequently modified to require directional exit marking in special amusement buildings.


  • MGM Grand, Las Vegas (85 Deaths) after incident; California requires pathway marking in new assembly, educational, healthcare and hospital facilities in 1989.


  • An analysis of The Herald of Free Enterprise disaster in March 1987 when the Townsend Thoresen car ferry left her berth at Zeebrugge, Belgium, with her bow doors open showed that the resulting influx of water led to the total failure of main and emergency power leaving the ship in total darkness. This allowed photoluminescent manufacturers to promote the virtues of their products as an alternative to electrical systems.


  • An explosion on Piper Alpha in July 1988 killed 167 men and completely destroyed the sea oil production platform. In the aftermath it was concluded that the safety procedures had not been good paving the way for the use of Safety Way Guidance Systems in the UK.


  • Scandinavian Star cruise ship fire killed 158. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) passed a law in 1993 requiring pathway marking on all cruise ships and ferries by October 1997.


  • The Photoluminescent Safety Products Association (PSPA) was formed by four companies whose main aim was to develop the market for photoluminescent products in a carefully considered manner.


  • Bombing of World Trade Centre killed six and injured more than 1,000. The bomb knocks out normal and emergency lighting, greatly complicating egress. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey subsequently installed photoluminescent pathway marking in the stairs.
  • Jensen, in Norway tested 84 subjects in dense smoke with seven different wayguidance systems. His results on visual guidance are contradictory to popular belief: he found that the level of luminance alone is not important in smoke! Results show that a PLM strip, 25 mm wide, built into a directional rail, performed the best among other systems at high smoke densities.


  • Nemoto patented a non-radioactive rare earth luminescent material
  • MS Estonia; On the 28th of September 1994 the bow visor of the MS Estonia was not watertight while sailing from Tallinn to Stockholm, this combined with damage to the bow ramp allowed water to accumulate on the car deck of the vessel. This extra weight caused the ship to list and the crew took counter measures to rectify the list by making a sharp turn, however the free surface effect moved the centre of gravity unexpectedly. Approximately 45 minutes after the vessel began taking on water the Estonia capsized claiming the lives of 852 people on board. Because of pore communication most people simply staying in their cabins awaiting instruction. This incident lead to stricter conformance required to meet IMO regulations.


  • The Health and Safety (Safety Signs & Signals) Regulations came into force, making it a legal requirement for all safety signs in the EU to have a graphical symbol. The purpose of the regulation was to reduce the number of text only signs and encourage standardisation of safety signs throughout the E.C. as well as to give universal meanings to safety signs regardless of linguistic or cultural variations.


  • With the emergence of a brighter pigment, the FAA allowed the use of photoluminescent pathway marking in addition to electrically powered systems on commercial aircraft.
  • PSPA became a company limited by guarantee.


  • Following a deadly train wreck, the American Public Transit Association released guidelines for installing pathway marking on commuter trains by 2006.
  • Canadian National Research Council released a study comparing evacuation of a high-rise building using photoluminescent pathway marking in some stairwells and traditional emergency lighting in others. Study found that occupant egress speeds are comparable even though occupants were unfamiliar with pathway marking technology.


  • NFPA 101 was modified to include the use of photoluminescent exit signs.


  • September 11th attacks resulted in collapse of World Trade Centre towers. Survivors reported that the photoluminescent pathway marking assisted them in their escape. In the Pentagon, occupants reported difficulty in escaping after Flight 77 slammed into the building. Reconstruction of the Pentagon included the addition of photoluminescent pathway marking in corridors and stairwells.


  • The United Nations voluntarily installed photoluminescent pathway marking in corridors and stairwells of its New York City complex.


  • Citing the use of photoluminescent pathway marking on September 11th, New York City passed Local Law 26, which included a requirement for photoluminescent pathway marking in all high-rise office building stairs by July 2006.
  • ISO 16069:2004 Graphical symbols – Safety signs – Safety way guidance systems (SWGS) was published. It described the principles governing the design and application of visual components used to create a safety way guidance system (SWGS).
  • ISO 17398:2004 Safety colours and safety signs – Classification, performance and durability of safety signs. This standard specified requirements for a performance-related classification system for safety signs according to expected service environment, principal materials, photometric properties, means of illumination, fixing methods and surface. Performance criteria and test methods were specified in ISO 17398:2004 so that properties related to durability and expected service life can be characterized and specified at the time of the product’s delivery to the purchaser.


  • Canadian National Research Council released a second study of evacuation of a high-rise building comparing photoluminescent pathway marking to traditional emergency lighting. Study suggested that photoluminescent pathway marking might be an acceptable alternative to emergency lighting.
  • New Zealand modified its building code to allow the use of pathway marking or emergency lighting to identify the egress path.
  • The International Code Council (ICC) adopted a requirement for the 2009 International Building Code (IBC) for photoluminescent pathway marking in the stairwells of new high-rise buildings of most occupancy groups: assembly, business, education, institutional, mercantile and transient residential (hotels).


  • Proposal was made to modify the 2009 IBC to require photoluminescent pathway marking in existing high-rise buildings for the 2009 IBC.
  • Proposal was made to modify the 2009 IBC to allow the building owner to choose between photoluminescent pathway marking and emergency lighting to identify the egress path.
  • Proposal made to provide guidelines for pathway marking in NFPA 101.
  • PSPA worked alongside the PSA to launch a joint guide on the use of photoluminescent safety signs and markings in stairwells.
  • DIN 67510 Part 4: 2008 Photoluminescent pigments and products: luminance requirements for photoluminescent materials was published


  • The PSPA sponsored the ISO plenary meeting in a bid to welcome the experts of ISO/TC145 to London.
  • ISO 23601:2009 Safety identification – escape and evacuation plan signs was published ISO 23601established design principles for displayed escape plans that contain information relevant to fire safety, escape, evacuation and rescue of the facility’s occupants. Intervention forces in case of emergency may also use these plans.
  • DIN 67510 Part 1:2009 Photoluminescent pigments and products: Measurement and identification by the manufacturer was published.


  • ISO 15370:2010 Ships and marine technology -Low-location lighting (LLL) on passenger ships –Arrangement became available. ISO 15370 specified the requirements for the approval, installation and maintenance of low-location lighting systems as defined in Chapter II-2, Regulation of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974 (SOLAS 1974), as amended in 2000 and the IMO International Code for Fire Safety Systems.
  • ISO 24409-1:2010 Ships and marine technology — Design, location and use of shipboard safety signs, safety-related sIgns, safety notices and safety markings -Part 1: Design principles was published.
  • ISO 24409-1:2010 Ships and marine technology — Design, location and use of shipboard safety signs, safety-related sIgns, safety notices and safety markings -Part 1: Design principles was published requiring low-location lighting on board passenger ships carrying more than 36 passengers
  • The Chartered Institute of Building Service Engineers (CIBSE) recognize the benefits and value of photoluminecent way guidance systems, instead of conventional high level lighting, in their publication Fire Guide E 3rd Edition.


  • ISO 3864-1:2011 Graphical symbols – Safety colours and safety signs – Part 1: Design principles for safety signs and safety markings established the safety identification colours and design principles for safety signs and safety markings to be used in workplaces and in public areas for the purpose of accident prevention, fire protection, health hazard information and emergency evacuation.
  • ISO 3864-4:2011 Graphical symbols -Safety colours and safety signs – Part 4: Colorimetric and photometric properties of safety sign materials was published. This standard established the colorimetric and photometric requirements and test methods for the colours of safety signs to be used in workplaces and public areas. It provided the colorimetric and photometric specifications for the named safety and contrast colours prescribed in ISO 3864­1.
  • ISO 7010:2011 Graphical symbols — Safety colours and safety signs – Registered safety signs prescribed safety signs for the purposes of accident prevention, fire protection, health hazard information and emergency evacuation.


  • PSPA held 3nd World Congress in Lisbon, Portugal to stress the international nature of the association. Countries represented included the US, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Japan, Norway, Holland, Germany and the U.K.
  • International Building Code (IBC) 2012 Luminous Egress Path Marking. The IBC addressed fire prevention in regard to the construction and design of buildings. Section 1024 called for the use of photoluminescent markings in stairwells of all commercial high-rise buildings.
  • International Fire Code (IFC) 2012 The IFC addressed fire prevention in regard to the operation of a completed and occupied building. It required no electrical egress marking and in Chapter 46 had a retrofit requirement of photoluminescent markings for all existing commercial high-rise buildings.


  • Updated PSPA Articles of Association and Rules finalised and publicised.
  • Observer Membership category of membership created and Associate membership category withdrawn.


  • Development of new PSPA website commenced.


  • Launch of the new and improved PSPA website.