Health & Safety Signs: Why Are They So Important?

If you are in any public building or facility, chances are you will see an array of different health and safety signs. From construction sites to shopping centres and offices, health and safety signage is necessary almost everywhere. Health & safety signs are essential for ensuring building or site users are aware of the potential dangers of their surroundings and the direction of the nearest exit in case of an emergency. But what exactly are the different health and safety signs? And why are they so important? We’ll cover everything you need to know about health and safety signage and how to use it effectively to ensure the safety of your building/site users.

What Are Health & Safety Signs?

Health and safety signs are used to convey information or warnings about areas of a site or certain items. Some of the most common examples seen on a daily basis include:

  • Wet floor signage
  • Fire exit signage
  • COSHH signage
  • Danger signage

You may not even realise the number of health and safety signs you pass in one day alone, but they are everywhere. From deep water to fire extinguisher labels and even no smoking signs, there are countless rules and warnings that we are faced with all the time. Health and safety signs are ultimately there to ensure that people are warned of risks or potential dangers and actions that are prohibited to ensure other people’s safety. 

The 5 Types of Health & Safety Signage

There is a multitude of different health and safety signs out there, all with unique purposes. However, all health and safety signage can be divided into 5 main categories:

  • Fire Equipment Signs - these indicate the location of fire exits, fire extinguishers and other fire safety equipment.
  • Hazard Signs - these warn people of potential dangers of a site, chemical or other equipment.
  • Prohibition Signs - these prohibit certain actions or behaviours, i.e. no smoking signs.
  • Mandatory Signs - these mandate specific actions or requirements of a site or building.
  • Safe Condition/ Emergency Signs - these instruct what to do in case of an emergency, indicate escape routes, and even identify first aid equipment.

Health & Safety Sign Colour Coding

Each category of health and safety signage has a unique colour to identify the type of danger. These colours are standardised in accordance with current health and safety regulations. Colour coding is used to psychologically promote different behaviours, ensuring maximum effectiveness. For instance, the colour red is associated with danger, therefore, if somebody sees a red warning sign, they are more likely to take caution as the perceived threat is greater. Health and safety sign colour coding is as follows:

  • Blue (safety signs) - typically a white picture on a blue background. These signs are mandatory and are used to instruct people on what to do.
  • Red (safety & prohibition signs) - the colour red is associated with danger. Prohibition signs typically include a black symbol in a red crossed circle. The colour red is used to attract attention and get people to stop what they are doing and take note of the sign.
  • Yellow (hazard warning signs) - these signs include a black symbol on a yellow background. They indicate a potential danger or hazard and encourage people to take caution.
  • Green (safety signs) - the colour green is seen as calming and positive. It is used to indicate safety. These signs display a white image on a green background and indicate a place of safety, e.g. a fire exit.

Regulations for Health & Safety Signage

In order for your site, building or workplace to comply with Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996, it must include all of the necessary health and safety signage. It is the responsibility of employers and dutyholders to ensure premises adhere to the necessary rules outlined in the safety signs and signals guidance. Health and safety signs are mandatory in instances where there is a significant risk to the health and safety of employees and others.

Why Are Health & Safety Signs Important?

Health and safety signage has a number of important functions that make it an essential feature of any building or outdoor space. The most important benefit of health and safety signage is its ability to prevent serious injury or even death by warning people of the potential hazards of an item or area. This promotes safe behaviour in those using that item or passing through that specific area. Informing people of potential risks is essential for ensuring that they can do everything they can to protect themselves. This not only prevents harm to the individual but also prevents building or site owners from being liable for any injuries obtained in hazardous areas.

Ensure You Have the Right Health & Safety Signage

It is important for any building or workplace to have all the necessary safety signage in order to keep people safe. In order to do this, your building or site must undergo a risk assessment. This will determine what signs you need and where in any place or near any items where there are potential risks to health. Here at Fire and Safety Centre, you can find all the fire and safety signage you need to ensure your building is compliant with health and safety regulations. We supply a range of fire safety equipment and hazardous material storage to help you and your employees stay safe. You can easily order with us online and request a free quote for your products. We aim to get back to all our customers within 1 to 2 working days.