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Health and Safety Signs

A range of the most common health and safety signs used around the workplace
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Health & Safety Signs & Posters - What you should know

Question: Why do I need to spend money on more signs around the workplace?
Answer: Because the small amount of money you spend on a few signs could save you lots of money in accident claims and possible fines in the future! The Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996 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 the relevant law, provided the use of a sign can help reduce the risk. Safety signs are not a suitable substitute for those other methods of controlling risks such as engineering controls and safe systems of work.

Safe use of Signs
The code of practice of escape route signing states:
1. That a fire exit or exit 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 signs.

Sign Types:
Category Meaning Shape/Colours Use of Sign
Safe Procedure
SAFE emergency escape route or first aid
Square or oblong. White symbol or symbol and text on a green background To show the way to medical assistance

To show the way to an area of safety
To indicate that a
course of action is safe to take

Circular. White symbol or symbol and text on a blue background To convey actions that must be carried out
To confirm emergency procedures in the event of fire

Fire Equipment
FIRE - Fire Fighting
Square or oblong. 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 signs
BE CAREFUL - Warning
Triangular. Black symbol or symbol and text on a yellow background surrounded by a black triangular band. To warn staff and public of the potential dangers in and around the workplace
DO NOT - Danger, alarm
Circular with cross band. 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 Information
Square or oblong. Black text on a white background or the safety colour of the safety sign that is supplemented, with text in the relevant contrasting colour To provide further information

What is required by law

For any new or existing business, it is your responsibility to ensure that the work environment is safe and that any potential hazards are marked clearly with appropriate signage.

In terms of the law, you are legally required to display the Health and Safety Law Poster

You are also legally required to report accidents using an accident report book

accident report book

No Smoking Legislation (July 2007) requirements (£1000.00 Fine for NON Compliance!)

It will be mandatory for all entrances to buildings (non private dwellings) to display a no smoking sign at EVERY entrance to the building. You will also have to display a non smoking symbol in any vehicle that has shared use (ie more than one person will travel in the vehicle).
See: here for full details.


DIRECTIONAL SIGNS - Which sign should you use?

You can use either a European style which has no text or a British standard style which has text.
In either case your signs must include a running man symbol
It is not advised to mix the two styles

safe procedure sign descriptionsEuropean Style
safe procedure sign descriptionsBritish Standard Style


Signs should be situated so as to indicate exit routes. At least one sign should be visible from any place within the building

safe procedure sign descriptions 1. Progress down to the right
safe procedure sign descriptions 1. Progress down to the left
safe procedure sign descriptions 1. Progress up to the right
2. Progress forward and across to the right
safe procedure sign descriptions 1. Progress up to the left
2. Progress forward and across to the left
safe procedure sign descriptions 1. Progress down to the right
safe procedure sign descriptions 1. Progress down to the left
safe procedure sign descriptions 1. Progress forward
2. Progress forward and through
3. Progress forward and up
safe procedure sign descriptions 1. Progress down


Final Exit Signs

Final Exit Signs

To avoid confusions, it is advisable to have "Final Exit" signs at external points. These should have a running man symbol and text but no arrow.


Recommended height for installation:
Above doors: 2.0m to 2.5m from floor level to bottom of sign
Wall Mounted: 1.4m to 1.7m from floor level to bottom of sign

View our full range of fire exit signs here


If floors are being cleaned or polished or are inherently slippery, this must be addressed immediately with a wet floor sign or slippery surface sign

slippery surface sign slippery floor sign
Additionally, if floorboards are damaged or uneven, trailing electrical cables are present then display a trip hazard warning sign

caution trip hazard

Keep stairs in good condition with good lighting and a well fixed handrail. Also make sure stairs are kept clear of obstructions. If in doubt, display a keep clear sign.

Make sure that items are easily retrievable without resorting to standing on a chair or desk. If it is unavoidable to have items high up, make sure that proper steps are used. It may also be advisable to create a sign to enforce this. See our bespoke signs section.

Fire Safety
One of the most important areas in Health and Safety is fire prevention, fire action and escape. An excellent starting place is with our Fire Risk Assesment Checklist booklet and Fire Risk Assesment Poster which will give you excellent help and advice.

Fire Risk Assesment CHecklist Fire Risk Assesment Poster

Display a Fire Action Sign and doors that have been marked as Fire Doors must never be propped open. Also the emergency escape route must be kept clear of obstructions and be clearly marked out every step of the way by signage. Common signs for these purposes are:

Fire Door Keep Shut Fire Escape Keep Clear Fire Action Sign

Fire Exit Keep Clear emergency exit signs


Computer Display Screens
Working in front of a computer screen for over 3 hours a day could result in a repetitive strain injury (RSI). Make sure that desks are larege enough to accomodate paperwork, monitor and keyboard. The screen should be free from glare and reflection. It is advisable to display the Health and Safety Display Screen Equipment Regulations poster.

display screens regulations poster


Manual Handling
Ensure that your work environment does not pose a major risk to the back. Such injuries are often incured when lifting heavy items incorrectly. Make sure your employees know the correct method of lifting by displaying the Manually Handling Regulations Poster.

manaually handling regulations poster

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