Examples of yellow triangular warning signs including a Radioactivity warning sign

Safety Signs - FAQs

When must safety signs be used?What colours and shapes should be used on safety signboards?
What regulations apply to safety signs?What is a Supplementary Signboard?
What types of safety signs are there?How will workers understand the meaning of safety signs?
What is a signboard?Do existing safety signs containing text have to be replaced?
Why must safety signboards not contain text?Examples of Prohibition Signs
How will workers understand the meaning of safety signs?Examples of Mandatory Signs
Can any text be included on a safety sign?Examples of Warning Signs

When must safety signs be used?

Safety signs must be used whenever a hazard or danger can not be avoided adequately or reduced in another way.  Before installing safety signs an employer should examine whether the hazard can be avoided or reduced by collective precautions (precautions that protect everybody) or safer ways of doing the work.

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What regulations apply to safety signs?

The Safety Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 (Chapter 1 of Part 7: Safety Signs at Places of Work) apply to safety signs.  

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What types of safety signs are there?

A safety sign provides information about safety or health and can be a signboard, colour, acoustic signal, verbal communication, or hand signal.

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What is a signboard?

A signboard is a sign that provides information or instruction using a combination of shape, colour and symbols but excludes information in writing.

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Why must safety signboards not contain text?

Safety signboards should not contain text. This is because the symbols or pictograms on a signboard are intended to be understood, independently of the language ability of the worker viewing it.

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How will workers understand the meaning of safety signs?

Employers must provide information to employees on the meaning and requirements of any signs used in the workplace, especially where text on supplementary signboards is used.  

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Can any text be included on a safety sign?

Safety signboards put in place after 1 November 2007 should not contain text. Text may be included on a supplementary signboard provided that it does not adversely affect the effectiveness of the safety signboard.

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What is a Supplementary Signboard?

A supplementary signboard (often with text) is used to give clarity to a signboard. A signboard and supplementary signboard can be located on one "carrier". A carrier could be a single sheet of metal, plywood, laminated plastic or other material as might be appropriate to a location.

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How will workers understand the meaning of safety signs?

Employers must provide information to employees on the meaning and requirements of any signs used in the workplace, especially where text on supplementary signboards is used.  

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Do existing safety signs containing text have to be replaced?

Where a signboard is already in place before 1 November 2007 and it meets all the requirements of Part 7 and Schedule 9 to the General Application Regulations 2007, except that it contains text, an employer may leave that signboard in place until 1 January 2011.

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What colours and shapes should be used on safety signboards?

  • Red for prohibition
  • Yellow for caution
  • Green for positive action
  • Blue for mandatory actions
  • O Discs for prohibitions and instructions
  • Δ Triangles for warnings
  • Squares and rectangles for emergency and information signs

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Examples of Prohibition Signs

Back to TopExamples of red border prohibition disc signage, including a no smoking sign.

Examples of Mandatory Signs

Back to TopExamples of Blue disc mandatory signs, including a hard hat required sign.

Examples of Warning Signs

Examples of yellow triangular warning signs including a Radioactivity warning sign.

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