The Five Signs

There are 5 main types of signboard used in the UK, they are common to all industries and all types of business premises.

Prohibited – Must not do something.

Prohibits actions or conduct which likely to cause or increase or danger e.g. No Smoking. Red edging to circular white sign with diagonal red bar crossing a simple black pictogram. The red element should make up at 35% of the signs total area. Sign shown “Smoking and naked flames forbidden”. Other prohibited signs would include; No smoking and No access for unauthorised persons.

Warning – Be aware of a hazard or danger

Black edged, yellow triangular sign with simple black pictogram. Often accompanied by separate text in same colour scheme, especially where the general warning sign is used – the exclamation mark. !The yellow part should form at least 50% of the area of the sign. Sign shown “Trip Hazard”. Other signs would include; Danger: electricity; Biological risk and Low temperature.

Mandatory – Must do something

Commands explicit behaviour. A round, blue sign with white pictogram and/or lettering. The blue area should be at least 50% of the sign’s coverage. Sign shown ” Respiratory equipment must be worn”. Other signs would include; Eye protection must be worn; Pedestrians must use this route and General mandatory sign displaying exclamation mark “!” and can be accompanied by another sign.

Safe (No danger) – Escape routes and exits. First Aid

The green background should make up at least 50% of the sign. Sign shown Emergency exit/escape route. Other signs would include location of – First-aid; Stretcher; Emergency telephone for first aid or escape; Safety shower; Eyewash and Defibrillator. Supplementary white arrow symbol on green background signs, indicating ‘This way’ signs for emergency exits/escape routes.

Fire-fighting – Identifying fire-fighting equipment

A red rectangular or square shaped sign with white edging and pictogram. The red background should be at least 50% of the overall sign. Sign shown Fire hose. Other signs would include location of – Fire extinguisher; Ladder and Fire alarm. Supplementary white arrow symbol on red background signs, indicating ‘This way’ signs for firefighting equipment

The regulations state that safety signs were not intended for use in directing traffic on public roads, waterways etc. They must never used for that purpose.

Exceptions

Under the regulations there are a few exceptions of which to be aware, in terms of those governed by the guidance and excluded defined sectors.

  • Non-employees
  • Supply of dangerous substances, these have their own regulations
  • Supply of machinery, these have their own regulations
  • Works traffic, should comply with Highway Code guidance
  • Merchant shipping

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