Safety Signs

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Guide to Workplace Safety Signs

Safety signs are crucial for communicating hazards and instructions in the workplace. Their design varies in shape, size, and colour based on the type of warning or directive they convey.

The Health and Safety Signs and Signals Regulations 1996

This legislation outlines the requirements for safety signs and signals in the workplace, emphasizing their necessity where significant risks remain despite other measures.

Characteristics of Effective Safety Signs

Safety signs should be:

  • Clear and legible
  • Used to indicate prohibitions, mandatory actions, warnings, and safe conditions

General Rules for Safety Sign Colours

Each colour on a safety sign has a specific meaning:

  • Yellow: Indicates danger, such as potential physical harm.
  • Blue: Represents mandatory instructions, like wearing PPE.
  • Red: Signals actions that are prohibited.
  • Green: Shows safe conditions, like emergency exits or first aid stations.

Overuse of Safety Signs

Avoid excessive use of signs to prevent confusion.

Special Features of Safety Signs

Some safety signs are designed to be luminescent for visibility in low light conditions, identifying crucial points like fire escapes or extinguishers.

EU Directive and Sign Harmonisation

An EU directive aims to harmonise safety signs across Europe, ensuring universal understanding by visitors and travellers to other member states.

HSE Guidance on Safety Signs

The HSE provides detailed guidelines on safety signs, accessible via their website.


Recognising and understanding the various safety signs in your workplace is essential for maintaining a safe environment for all employees.