How to use and display safety signage correctly
Safety signs and signals can be found in all walks of life. These safety signs give instruction and guidance on what employees and members of the public need to do to stay safe.
Safety signs are a legal requirement and also very important to reduce risks to health and safety. They can be found in a number of places, for example
Safety signs are one of the main means of communicating health and safety information to employees, contractors, service users and members of the public.
Safety signs should be easy to understand and should also be easy to see and read.
Signs and signals could include
Red signs are for prohibition, danger or for alarm. They are round shaped with a black pictogram on a white background and the red edging should be at least 35% of the surface area of the sign.
Yellow or Amber are warning signs used for caution or for taking precautions. They will be triangular in shape with a black pictogram on a yellow background with black edges. The yellow part should be at least 50% of the area of the sign.
Blue signs are for instruction or for information, for example, wear
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). They are a round shape with a white pictogram on a blue background. The blue part of the sign should be at least 50% of the area of the sign.
Green signs are for emergency escape routes or first aid. They are rectangular in shape with a white pictogram on a green background. The green part of the sign should be at least 50% of the sign.
Red (fire-fighting signs) give instructions for and the location of firefighting equipment. They are rectangular in shape with a white pictogram on a red background. The red part of the sign should be at least 50% of the sign.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have specific guidance on banksmen and signallers.
Find out more about banksmen and signallers on the HSE site
The Health and Safety (Signs and Signal) Regulations 1996 require employers to provide specific safety signage whenever there is a risk that could not be avoided or controlled. There are specific requirements for colour and shape.
Supplementary text may be added to help understand the meaning, but text only signs are not permitted.
All signs must
Employers also have to explain any signage that may be unfamiliar to employees. They need to ensure all employees understand the meaning and any actions that need to be taken.
Visit the HSE site for safety signage regulations
Subscribe to receive updates on our services and activities
For information on workplace health, safety and wellbeing, you can speak to one of our specialist advisors.