Common Safety Signs and Their Categorization

Safety signs warn people of potential dangers, provide direction, stop them from performing a job, or advise them on the correct approach to a task. The primary purpose of displaying signs is to avoid injuries and ensure that employees and visitors are well-aware of potential hazards in certain situations and/or environments.

Safety signs provide information or instructions by combining shape, color, and a symbol or pictogram. Many signs may be accompanied by supplementary text.

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Safety signs can be of the following types: 

Prohibition Sign 

A sign prohibiting behavior likely to increase or cause danger. 
These signs are round in shape, with a black pictogram on a white background, red edging, and a diagonal line. A prohibition sign shall show only what or who is forbidden.

Warning Sign 

A sign giving a warning of a hazard or danger. 
These signs are generally triangular, with a black pictogram, yellow background, and black edging. A warning sign indicates a potential hazard, obstacle, or condition requiring special attention.

Mandatory Sign 

A sign that instructs people to behave a certain way. 
Mandatory signs are of round shape, with a white pictogram, on blue background. Mandatory signs are used to show actions or behaviors to be implemented within a workplace or area and to tell the people what they must do. For example, what PPE they must wear.

Safe Condition Sign 

A sign giving information on emergency exits, first aid, or rescue facilities.
Safe condition signs are rectangular or square, with a white pictogram on a green background. The safe condition sign shows the information on escape routes, emergency exits, first-aid, or rescue facilities. 

Fire Safety Sign 

A sign which provides information on the identification or location of firefighting equipment.
Fire safety signs are rectangular or square, with a white pictogram, on a red background. These signs provide crucial information about fire safety equipment, procedures, and actions to take in an emergency.

Warning Stripes

There are some other types. For example, yellow and black or red and white stripes are used to mark obstacles, dangerous locations, and traffic routes.

The installation and maintenance of all safety signs are not only essential to saving lives and protecting property but also a requirement under several regulations. 

Jawad Chand

Jawad Chand is an occupational health & safety practitioner and trainer with extensive experience in oil & gas safety management, process safety, pharmaceuticals hazard control, and health & safety management systems. He is a highly qualified professional with the most prestigious degrees in Business Administration, Chemical Engineering, and Occupational Health & Safety.

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