What are the different types of safety signs at workplaces?

What are the different types of safety signs at workplaces?

As per The Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996, safety signs at workplaces are required for providing information and instructions to the viewers. The regulation mandates businesses in the UK to display safety signs in workplaces having the potential risk that cannot be controlled or removed by other methods.

Most of the safety signs seen in UK business places are standardised, making it easy for the viewers or visitors to understand its meaning each time they see it. This standardisation of health and safety signage helps in passing on information in a silent manner. Most UK residents can obtain information quickly or understand the sign due to the sign’s shape and colour that are standardised.

The health and safety signs at Workplaces are classified under four colours: red, yellow, blue and green. The colour of the sign helps the viewer to determine the importance of the signage and the risk associated.

  • Red Coloured Signs: Red colour is used in prohibitory signs for drawing the viewers’ attention to a dangerous situation or one that may arise. These warning or prohibitory signs are usually round in shape having a thick red edge with a diagonal line crossing across a black and white picture or image, illustrating the prohibited behaviour.
  • Amber Coloured Signs: Similar to traffic lights, an amber safety sign represents a warning. These signs are used for alerting the viewer to take precautions or care. This safety signage is generally seen in places of hazard. An amber warning sign is generally triangle in shape with a thick black edge and a clear image of the hazard. These signs are often referred to as hazard signs.
  • Blue Coloured Signs: Blue coloured safety signs are also known as mandatory signs. They are displayed at places to ensure a specific behaviour is undertaken before moving ahead. For example, wearing a hard helmet or using safety glasses before proceeding. These signs are round, covered with blue colour in the background (50%) and a white picture displayed in middle for instructions.
  • Green Coloured Signs:Green safety signs are used to display information highlighting safety, showing exit routes, first aid areas etc. They are rectangular with white images showing the direction the viewer is required to follow.

Which are the common safety signs displayed in workplaces?

We already know that the legislation requires safety signs to be displayed at potential risk areas to control or reduce the risk. Some of the most common safety signs are:

  • 1. Fire Exit and Emergency Escape Signs: Fire exit signs are useful for marking the emergency routes and exits in case of a fire or any outward incident. The fire exit sign should be displayed above the exit door and if the door is not visible from all areas of the workplace, directional signs to reach the exit door should be used. Directional arrow signs should be accompanied with words like “fire exit” or a fire exit symbol.
  • 2. First Aid Signs: A first aid sign features a white cross on a green background. These signs should be located next to first aid box locations at the workplace. Adding a list of the company’s first aiders and contact details along with the sign can be very useful.
  • 3. No Smoking Signs: The UK saw a total smoking ban in all enclosed public places, workplaces and certain vehicles in July 2007. As per the smoke-free legislation, a workplace can be fined up to £1000 for not displaying appropriate No Smoking Signs. No Smoking Signs are required to be displayed at every entrance to smoke-free premises.
  • 4. Overhead Obstacles and Steps Signs: Many workplaces may have low doorways or steps located in inappropriate places that can cause trip hazards. Most of the time it is difficult to remove the hazard hence overhead obstacles or steps signs are used for informing the employees of the possible hazard. These signs should be visibly placed next to the hazardous place warning the person approaching the hazard.
  • 5. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Some areas or places at the workplace require the visitors or staff to use personal protective equipment (PPE). The PPE signs display the type of PPE that needs to be worn in a certain work area. The signs should be large and clear and ideally located at entrances to the area. It is advisable to use standard symbols wherever possible.

Does your workplace need safety signs?

To determine if your workplace needs to put up safety signs, the first step is to conduct a thorough risk assessment (made under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999). These assessments help in identifying any hazards and their associated risks. It also states the required measures that need to be taken. After undergoing the risk assessment, you can determine whether your workplace needs safety signs and which types of safety signage should be used.

All UK employers have a responsibility to ensure that relevant, unobstructed health and safety signs are displayed on their premises. They have a duty to ensure that all their employees and visitors understand the meaning of all the signage displayed.

If you want to ensure that the safety signs at the workplace are compliant with regulations, contact us at QuickChilli for information on the best signage solutions for your workplace. QuickChilli is a Surrey based designing and branding company that has been providing various design and branding solutions to local businesses over the last 20 years.

We are into designing, production and installation of all types of signage solutions for both indoor and outdoor use. Whether you are looking for illuminated or non-illuminated signage, directions or informative shop signage, acrylic or stainless steel based signage, we can customize them for you as per requirements. Contact us at QuickChilli to know more about safety signage.

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