According to ISO and IAEA, the goal of the new symbol is "to help reduce needless deaths and serious injuries from accidental exposure to large radioactive sources."
The new symbol is intended to supplement the existing, well recognized, radiation trefoil symbol, which the IAEA has said has "no intuitive meaning and little recognition beyond those educated in its significance."
The new symbol has been designed to convey the message "Danger — Stay Away" to anyone who sees it, regardless of their age, education, or cultural background.
IAEA has said the following about the new warning symbol:
It is intended for IAEA Category 1, 2, and 3 sources defined as dangerous sources capable of causing death or serious injury, such as food irradiators, teletherapy machines for cancer treatment, and industrial radiography units.
It should be placed on the device housing the source, as a warning not to dismantle the device or to get any closer.
It will not be visible under normal use and will only be visible if someone attempts to disassemble the housing device.
It should not be placed on building access doors, transportation packages, or containers.
Strategies to place the symbol on existing large sources are being developed by the IAEA.