Summary: Law requires signs in the workplace to reduce the risk of incidents. There are five different types of sign that are required, but the specific signs that you need depend majorly on the industry you deal with and the location of your building.
One of the key ways in which companies promote health and safety in the workplace is through signs. These signs are designed in the same way as road signs, ensuring that their message is easily communicated even on a subconscious level. These signs are important in all workplaces, but especially in hazardous environments like construction sites, chemical sites or in areas where there are lots of visitors, such as hospitals.
The type of signs that your company have will depend on the industry that you are in and the hazards that you face, but legislation covers the use of these signs. With this in mind, it is essential that all employers are aware of the different types of signs that are required by law to be present in a place of business. They are as follows:
A Safe Conditions Sign
Safe Conditions Signs provide information on where to go in case of a fire or an emergency. They can also show escape routes and rescue facilities. Safe Condition Signs are green in colour like for instance sign of “First-Aid” or “Emergency Exit”.
A Fire Safety Sign
A red coloured fire safety sign must be used to provide information on the location or identification of firefighting equipment. They can also be used to provide information on emergency exit routes or to give warning in case of fire.
A Mandatory Sign
Mandatory signs prescribe a particular behaviour that must be undertaken. They show what action is required, which could include “Fire Door Keep Shut”, “Ear Protection Must Be Worn in This Area” or “Please Stand on the Right”. A mandatory sign is required to have a blue background with a white safety symbol.
A Prohibition Sign
These signs are used to forbid any behaviour or actions which are a risk to the health and safety of the individual or public. They are usually red in colour and have a black safety symbol within a red circle. “No Smoking” is a universal prohibition sign, but other examples include “No Entry” and “No Parking”.
A Warning Sign
These signs provide a warning of hazards in the area, and they are usually yellow or amber coloured signs. Typical examples include signs of “Caution Very Hot Water”, “Danger Electrical Hazard” and “Mind the Step”. You may also see warning sites on storage cabinets, like these ones from Storemasta, to indicate that the contents of the cabinets are dangerous and therefore should be approached and handled with care.
These are the five types of sign that you must have in your workplace by law (if relevant). It is important to carry out a risk assessment in the workplace to identify hazards and to decide which signs you need the most. You should also obtain building plans to decide on the location of these mandatory signs carefully.