How to keep safe and meet workplace WHS requirements
Keeping your workplace safe can be a difficult challenge, but it is thankfully made a little easier with the installation of safety signs and equipment. It is important to make sure your business has put up the required safety signs in the required positions in order to help prevent injuries and to educate all staff and visitors of possible dangers and hazards in the environment.
The 7 most important safety signs for your workplace
Regulatory safety signs
The Australian Safety Sign Standard AS 1319-1994 sets out a minimum standard for industrial warning sign requirements on the design and use of safety signs. The standard provides direction for the use of safety signs including the colour of the backgrounds, legends, and symbols. Safety signs are classified and need to be used according to their functions.
Regulatory safety signs contain the instructions on things that you CAN’T DO or MUST DO to avoid breaking the law or breaching standing orders, safety procedures or other directions, depending on which kind of control has been imposed on workplaces and work sites.
1. Prohibition signs
Prohibition signs are the best for when you need to tell people that they CAN’T DO something. Prohibition Signs indicate an action or activity is not permitted by displaying the activity surrounded by a red circle with a slash through the image, these signs are typically universally recognisable.
2. Mandatory signs
Mandatory signs are perfect for when you have instructions that need to be followed, whether it be for protective clothing or equipment. Mandatory signs indicate an instruction or what you MUST DO and are comprised of blue round symbols on a white background.
3. Limitation or restriction signs
Limitation or restriction signs are usually used for traffic management and place a numerical or other defined limit on an activity or use of a facility.
Hazard safety signs
4. Danger signs
DANGER signs are designed to indicate the warning of a particular hazard or conditions that are potentially life threatening and could KILL YOU. They have a red and black header with the word DANGER and commonly include HIGH VOLTAGE and DO NOT ENTER.
5. Warning signs
Warning signs are perfect to warn about conditions that could HURT YOU. Warning signs let you know a hazard or hazardous condition is nearby and are easy to identify with yellow backgrounds and a black triangle around the symbol. You will typically see SLIPPERY WHEN WET signs when floors have been cleaned or a spill has occurred.
6. Emergency information safety signs
When things go wrong, people need to know where to go to find things such as emergency related facilities, emergency exits, first aid or safety equipment. Emergency Information safety signs help you to put SAFETY FIRST and the locations and directions to emergency items are displayed through white symbols and text on a green background, usually reading FIRST AID KIT or EMERGENCY PHONE.
7. Fire safety signs
Fire Safety Signs are extremely important, and the bright red of the signs are easy to spot around fire alarms and fire-fighting equipment. These FIRE EQUIP signs have all white text and symbols on a red background and are used to indicate the location of your fire extinguishers, blankets, hoses, and more.
How to set up workplace safety signs
In addition to the legalities of required signs, you need to take into consideration the environment, lighting and viewing distance as these factors determine the size of sign required for your workplace.
Safety signs need to be large enough to view without straining the eyes, pictograms minimum size should be 15mm per metre of viewing distance while the text size for upper case should be 5mm while lower case needs to be a minimum of 4mm per metre of viewing distance.
The illumination of safety signs should be considered when natural or artificial light does not provide for adequate visibility of the signs. If they are not properly illuminated, it is very unlikely that they will be easy to see and should be increased in size by 50% if extra light cannot be provided.
Remember, do not mount your signs in locations where they can be obscured by stacked materials or other obstructions, or become a hazard themselves.
Directional flow arrows
Planning out the locations of your signs can be a challenge, but the addition of directional flow arrows can help guide people in the right direction. The use of arrows with emergency information or fire signs indicates directions to the facility or equipment and is a great option when the equipment is in an out of way position.
Let Safety Maps lead the way
When you’re ready to begin creating your business’s emergency graphics, contact us at Safety Maps for a comprehensive end-to-end service. We work closely with our clients to deliver the best possible Australian Standard Compliant solution to meet the specific needs of every project. Whether you’re after Consultation, Custom Design, Compliance, or Value Pricing Safety Maps is here to help. Call us on 02 8078 0302 or email us at for more information.