Wright Safety Solutionsestablished 2006

providing Health and Safety for Coventry and Warwickshire medium/small businesses

Safety Signs

What safety signs do I need?

The current colour scheme of safety signs is an international standard that was laid down in UK in 1996/1999. The five types are as follows, with examples:

red and white circular : PROHIBIT
yellow and black : WARNING
blue and white circular : MUST DO or MANDATORY
green and white : SAFE BEHAVIOUR and EXIT ROUTES
red and white square : FIRE-FIGHTING EQUIPMENT
PROHIBIT - the red and white circular signs. Employees should recognise these as signs TO BE OBEYED. They are in place to warn of danger and to stop dangerous behaviour. The 'No Smoking' sign is usually just a social reminder sign inside premises but in a factory it often means employees are entering an area where there is a fire risk due to the presence of flammable substances like solvents, dust , paper etc. Outside buildings the sign may be seen where solvents or petroleum are stored or decanted, or in waste collection areas.

WARNING - the yellow and black signs indicate the need for care or precautions - a hazard does exist, for example: slippery surface, fork lift trucks, high voltage cables etc.

MUST DO or MANDATORY - these circular blue and white signs tell employees to take a specific action or behave in a certain way - for example to wear personal protective equipment like hard hat, goggles, ear defenders, a harness etc. They are also used for FIRE DOORS to indicate to employees that they must not be left open or obstructed.

SAFE BEHAVIOUR - these green and white signs indicate safe behaviour - for example drinking water, first-aid kits, emergency showers

EXIT ROUTES - these are also green and white signs indicating, for example, direction for emergency evacuation and escape routes, emergency exit doors, fire exits - these signs now have to be LUMINOUS - visible in darkness. They also act as a reminder to employees to keep these areas clear of obstacles.

FIRE FIGHTING EQUIPMENT - these red and white signs identify equipment AND locations - for example for fire extinguishers and hoses, fire alarms.

Wright Safety Solutions can identify your signage needs, where they should be located and where to source them inexpensively.

Other safety signage is needed where there are Permits To Work and Emergency Procedures in progress. Also there are specific colours and wording for marking of pipework containing dangerous substances. Traffic control and route separation for pedestrians and vehicles also benefit from well-placed signage.

Posters are another means of communicating safety instructions to employees. They can be placed in places of hazard as a reminder of previous training or to reinforce verbal instructions that are given. They are often very attractive, colourful, humorous to attract employees' attention. They can also be selected or even created by employees e.g. the result of employees' safety competitions and a useful tool in promoting a safety culture.

For more advice and information contact Wright Safety Solutions :

Wright Safety Solutions
John A. B. Wright
B.Sc. (Chem), TechIOSH
safety qualification: NEBOSH (Gen.Cert.)

Tel: (024) 76618235
Mobile: 0779 3880597



this page first published 12 January 2007
last updated 1 March 2020

Health and Safety for Coventry and Warwickshire medium/small businesses

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