Safety signs/signboards provide information or instructions by combining shape, color, and a symbol or pictogram. They are installed in construction sites to improve security for visitors as well as workers. Since construction sites are so dangerous, these signages aim to inform workers and visitors of any possible risk and insecurity.
Employers and others responsible for workplace safety and security must install safety signs to comply with the health and safety regulations. They are required where is a risk to employees’ health and safety, despite all implemented safety activities.
Safety signages must be clear and legible and show prohibited actions, warning of hazards, or direction of the emergency exit paths, but they must be used sufficiently to avoid confusion.
Safety signs are mandatory and must be installed as soon as a construction site becomes active, although some must be set even when the site is inactive, like no entry signage or warning notices. Therefore putting them is the priority on your site.
Required signage depends on the hazards that remain on your premises. Health and safety organizations in all countries have their regulations about them, for instance, OHSA in the united states, the health and safety executive in the U.K, and the European agency for safety and health at work in Europa.
Among all these regulations, you can define four main types of safety signs as follows:
Table of content
1- Prohibitory signs: show the highest risks in the workplace
With usually red schemes, Danger signs demonstrate the most hazardous places and actions in your construction site. They are the most crucial safety signs in your Jobsite, and close to the most critical hazards must be placed a danger sign.
Everywhere that the potential for death or severe injury lies nearby, you must install proper danger signage. These signs have red, black, and white color schemes. However, red is the standard color to show danger worldwide; in China, black borders on yellow background signs alert about hazards.
Safety signboards colors
To get familiar with safety signs colors, look at the following table:
|Meaning or purpose
|instruction and information
|Dangerous behavior; stop;
shutdown; emergency cut-out
|Be careful; take precautions;
|Specific behavior or action,
e.g., wear protective equipment
|Doors; exits; escape routes;
equipment and facilities
Return to normal
Prohibitory signs aim to prevent people from implementing some especial actions like smoking, touching, or drinking.
These signs have a black pictogram on white background, red edging, and a diagonal line in most countries.
2- Warning signs: show that workers must remain alert.
The purpose of a warning sign is to keep workers and visitors aware of a potential hazard or danger. They show a moderate level of caution due to the dangerous conditions that may occur.
Warning signs usually have a black scheme on yellow backgrounds. They are mostly a triangle signboard with black edging. The most familiar warning signboards in construction sites are Toxic material, flammable material, radioactive material, and electricity danger.
3- Mandatory signs: such as essential wearing PPE
You must consider mandatory signs to show what is necessary for every premise. Sometimes they demonstrate some mandatory protective personal equipment that workers and visitors must wear before entering the premises, like protective glasses.
These signboards are often round in shape with a white pictogram on a blue background. The blue color makes everyone calm and invite them to follow the regulations.
4- Emergency escape or first-aid signs: vital in emergencies
Every construction site employer must install these signages. They have to be clear and prominent enough that they could lead everyone to a safe place.
You have to consider some emergency escape paths in your site and then set proper safety signboards and inform every worker of them. It would save lives during accidents like fire, explosion, or earthquake.
These signboards are mostly a green background rectangular with a white pictogram that shows the safe path, exit door, or emergency telephone for first aid or escape.
Besides all these signs, there are other signboards like firefighting signs, chemical signs, etc. If you want to install all efficient safety signs in your workplace, you must first implement a risk assessment. Then set only essential signage to avoid confusion.
On the other hand, every permanent or temporary worker should be familiar with these signs; therefore, you must train them to understand safety signboards’ language and pictographs.