The regulations require that safety signs are provided and maintained in circumstances where a health and safety risk is present that other methods have not been employed to remove or control. The primary aim of such signage is to further reduce risks presented by the hazards.
Signs convey information or instructions through a combination of shape, colour, and symbol (pictogram). Supplementary text can also be provided, such as ‘Fire exit’. Signs can be illuminated by using transparent or translucent materials lit from behind.
A number of different types of safety sign are described below.
 Prohibition signs
Prohibition signs prohibit action which is likely to increase or cause danger, such as ‘No entry’. They are characterised by a round shape, and can either be a black pictogram on a white background, or can have red edging and a diagonal line.
 Warning signs
Warning signs warn of a hazard or danger, such as ‘Danger: Toxic materials’. They are characterised by a triangular shape, and usually feature a black pictogram on a yellow background with black edging.
 Mandatory signs
Mandatory signs prescribe specific behaviour, such as ‘Eye protection must be worn’. They are characterised by a round shape, and usually feature a white pictogram on a blue background.
 Emergency escape or first-aid signs
Emergency escape and first-aid signs provide information on emergency exits, first aid or rescue facilities, such as ‘Emergency exit’. They are characterised by a rectangular or square shape, and usually feature a white pictogram on a green background.
They must be well maintained, and able to function during a power failure. The light from illuminated signs should be bright enough to be seen without causing glare.
A fire safety sign is defined as a sign which provides:
- Warning in case of fire.
- Information on escape routes and emergency exits (coloured green).
- Information on the identification or location of firefighting equipment (coloured red).
Fire exit signs should be displayed immediately above or near to the exit opening, where it is least likely to be obscured or obstructed by smoke. Buildings that have multiple occupants should adopt a common approach to the provision of fire safety signs, to avoid confusion about exit routes.
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