- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 17 May 2017
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.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
Whole-life costs consider all costs associated with the life of a building, from inception to disposal. Find out more here.
Reports emerge of injuries caused by Apple employees colliding with the campus' glazed walls.
The winners of NIC's ideas competition on transforming the Cambridge to Oxford arc discuss their concept.
Create new habitats and improve air quality and wellbeing.
New report provides 12 key actions which could close the structural talent gap in the construction industry.
These can be used to find out whether a proposed development is likely to be approved. Read more here.
Studying a built environment degree? Check out our helpful student resources section.
New BRE research paper explores how blockchain technology can benefit the built environment industry.
Timber is a natural carbon sink, but it must not end up in landfill at the end of its useful life.
BSRIA has collaborated with the Department of Health on research into air permeability in isolation rooms.