The Office Safety Company

Safety - Safety Signs

Investing in safety signs around the workplace could save you lots of money in accident claims in the future. The Summary of the Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996 states:

[The Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996][1] requires employers to use a safety sign where there is a significant risk to health and safety that has not been avoided or controlled by the methods required under other relevant law, provided the use of a sign can help reduce the risk. Safety signs are not a substitute for those other methods of controlling risks such as engineering controls and safe systems of work.

This table summarises the different kinds of safety signs you may require and gives explanation of their meaning:

Safe procedure safety sign Safe Procedure Safety Signs SAFE
emergency escape route or first aid safety sign
Square or oblong safety sign. White symbol or symbol and text on a green background sign.
  • To show the way to medical assistance safety sign
  • To show the way to an area of safety
  • To indicate that a course of action is safe to take sign
Mandatory Safety Sign Mandatory Safety Signs YOU MUST Circular. White symbol or symbol and text on a blue background safety sign.
  • To convey actions that must be carried out
  • To confirm emergency procedures in the event of fire sign.
Fire Equipment Safety Sign Fire Equipment Safety Sign FIRE
Fire Fighting Safety Sign
Square or oblong safety sign. White symbol or symbol and text on a red background.
  • To indicate the location of fire equipment
  • To comply with The Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations, which require any non- automatic fire fighting equipment to be indicated by safety signs
Warning Safety Sign Warning Safety Signs BE CAREFUL safety Signs
Triangular Safety Signs. Black symbol or symbol and text on a yellow background surrounded by a black triangular band.
  • To warn your staff of the potential dangers they face in and around the workplace using the most appropriate safety signs
Prohibition Safety Sign Prohibition Safety Signs DO NOT
Danger, alarm
Circular with cross band safety signs. Black symbol on a white background, inside a red circle with a red cross bar.
  • To convey prohibited actions
  • To reduce the risk of fire
  • To prevent personal injury
Supplementary Safety Sign Supplementary Safety Signs Supplementary safety information Square or oblong safety sign. Black text on white background or the safety colour of the safety sign that is supplemented, with text in the relevant contrasting colour.
  • To provide further information

Safe Use of Safety Signs

The Code of Practice for escape route signing states:

  1. That a fire exit/exit safety sign with an arrow should be used where the escape route from a building is not conspicuous or confusion could occur.
  2. All changes in direction in corridors, stairways and open spaces forming part of the escape route should be marked with additional safety signs.

Safety Signs Audit - What is a Safety Signs Audit?

A Safety Signs Audit is an inspection of work premises to assess the suitability of existing safety signage and identify areas where new safety signage is needed. The safety signs audit will cross reference with any existing risk assessments if available.

After the visit a ‘jargon free’ report is then provided indicating where and what type of safety signage is needed. The purpose of a safety signs audit is to ensure that:-

  • premises are fully compliant with appropriate safety signs
  • staff are kept aware of all risks by accurate and up to date safety signage

Safety Signs Audits are carried out by health and safety professionals who specialise in health and safety signs.

The duration of a Safety Signs Audit depends on the size of your premises, but most small to medium businesses can be audited in one day, including report writing and recommendations.

What does a Safety Signs Audit cover?

The following is a summary list of signs our audit may cover:-

  • Fire Safety Signs
  • Danger Safety Signs
  • Pipeline Safety Markers
  • Notice Safety Signs
  • Warning Safety Signs
  • Caution Safety Signs
  • Symbol Safety Signs
  • Prohibition Safety Signs
  • First Aid Safety Signs
  • Emergency Safety Signs
  • Traffic safety Signs
  • Mandatory Safety Signs
  • No Smoking Safety Signs
  • Helmet Safety Signs
  • Pictograms

Why do you need a Safety Signs Audit?

Health and Safety Law The Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regs 1996 says appropriate safety or warning signs must be provided, and maintained, where any risks identified by a risk assessment (required by the Management Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992) cannot be controlled by other means.

Duty of Care Safety Signs provide valuable instructional safety messages to your staff and therefore help control safety risks and enhance the safety of everyone. The effectiveness of signs are paramount in emergency situations such as fires because only clear accurate messaging can lead people to safety. That is why safety signs need to be appropriate, up to date and in good condition

Why Choose The Health and Safety Group?

Where safety signs are required, they must conform to specific requirements. The Health and Safety Group have the expert safety knowledge and skills to meet these standards. Our Safety Signs Audits also:-

  • Saves time and effort by getting safety experts in who can quickly identify what signs are needed
  • Save the cost of the time it would take you to audit your premises yourself and our jargon free report will help you prioritise what safety actions need to be taken first
  • Give you the peace of mind of knowing your safety signs are appropriate and in the right place to keep your staff safe

Disclaimer: The Office Safety Company have provided the ‘Quick Guides’ on the basis that the content and advice contained within these documents is to the best of our knowledge accurate at the time of publication. The Office Safety Company does not accept any liability for the accuracy of the information provided in the ‘Quick Guides’.