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Understanding Safety Signs

If you run a business, whether it’s a café or a factory, you are responsible for keeping your employees and customers safe on your premises. One way of ensuring this safety is by installing safety signs and signboards.

Signboards are safety signs that provide instructions or information using colours, shapes and pictograms. These can also be accompanied by text, for example “Fire exit”. It is important that your safety signs follow current legislation so that the meaning of the colours, shapes and symbols used can be easily and correctly identified.



Understanding Mandatory Safety Signs


  • Indicates a specific course of action to be followed or equipment to be used.
  • Incorporates a white pictogram in a blue circle.
  • Supplementary text is white on a blue background.
Understanding Prohibition Safety Signs


  • Indicates an action or behaviour that must not be committed.
  • Incorporates a red circle with a diagonal line.
  • ISO 7010 symbols (black) and supplementary text is (white on red) can be added.
Understanding Warning Signs


  • Advises of a potential hazard within an area.
  • Incorporates a yellow triangle with black border and pictogram inside.
  • Supplementary text is black on a yellow background and leads with danger, warning or caution.
Understanding Safe Signs


  • Includes first aid signs and escape route signs. Indicates the safe way.
  • Incorporates a a white pictogram in a green square or rectangle.
  • Supplementary text is white on a green background.


Safety signs explained

Green rectangular or square safety signs are emergency escape or first aid signs. These signal exits, escape routes and first aid equipment or facilities. They feature a white pictogram on a green background, for example the standard “Fire exit” sign. Green can also be used to indicate that there is no danger.

Round red signs are prohibitory safety signs. These have a black pictogram, red edging and a red diagonal line through the prohibited activity represented. A well-known safety sign of this type is the standard “No smoking” sign. Red indicates dangerous behaviour, stop, emergency cut-out services and evacuations.

Firefighting safety signs are rectangular or square and feature a white pictogram on a red background. A common example is the fire extinguisher sign.

Round blue safety signs are mandatory signs. They feature a white pictogram on a blue background. These safety signs indicate a specific behaviour or action, for example wearing protective equipment. A common example is the “Safety helmets must be worn” sign.

Yellow and amber triangular safety signs are warning signs. They indicate that the reader should be careful, take precautions, or examine something. These have a black pictogram on a yellow background, with black edging. A common example is the general danger ("!") safety sign.


Safety Sign Viewing Distances

Viewing distances are for guidance only

view from 6-11m


300 x 100mm

Poor Light

6.6 Metres

Good Light

11.8 Metres

view from 6-11m


450 x 150mm

Poor Light

9.5 Metres

Good Light

17 Metres

view from 6-11m


600 x 200mm

Poor Light

14.3 Metres

Good Light

25 Metres