Understanding Safety Maps: A Quick Guide for Business

Understanding Safety Maps A Quick Guide for Business

Safety maps are a must in buildings. Here’s why.

Every business should have safety maps in their building. These site maps, evacuation, emergency and way signage diagrams not only indicate your adherence to national safety standards, but also show that you care about the safety of your customers as well as staff members.

What are the different safety maps and signs?

Australian Standard AS 3745-2010 (Planning for Emergencies in Facilities) is vital in ensuring that your workplace adheres to specific safety standards. Here are the descriptions of the safety signs and diagrams that your business needs:

1. Evacuation diagram

An evacuation diagram provides people in a building or facility with information on how to evacuate should there be an emergency situation. It is a graphic representation of the floor or area of a building that should provide emergency and evacuation information for both visitors and occupants. It should contain the following information:

  • Exit routes and exit lights
  • Assembly areas
  • Fixed and portable fire-fighting equipment
  • Manual call points (MCP) or communication equipment
  • Fire control rooms
  • Emergency procedures
  • Emergency information
  • The date the diagram was created and its date of validity
  • The site name and address

Evacuation diagrams should be located where occupants and visitors of the building can easily see them. They should be positioned between 1.2m and 1.6m from the floor, they must have the correct orientation concerning the exit point’s location and they must show the “you are here” point.

Evacuation diagrams need to be reviewed and upgraded every five years. If there are any changes made to the layout of the building or firefighting equipment and systems, the evacuation diagrams should be updated accordingly. We sometimes call evacuation diagrams safety maps.

2. Safety signs

Safety signs consist of words, pictures and symbols, and are created in various sizes, shapes and colours. All of these shapes and colours are standardised, each with a specific meaning. By using standardised safety signs and symbols, they are easily understood anywhere in the world. Safety signs help communicate important instructions, highlight safety messages and give instruction in case of emergencies.

Understanding Safety Maps A Quick Guide for Business

Understanding safety sign shapes

Safety signs have four standard shapes – Triangle, Circle, Rectangle or Square, Circle with diagonal dash:

  1. Triangle: signifies caution (potential hazards) or warning (definite hazards). It is used primarily for areas where there are toxic gases and risk of an electric shock.
  2. Circle: commonly used to represent an action that you must do. An example is the reminder to wear a hard hat and safety goggles.
  3. Rectangle or square: shows first aid, firefighting and other general and emergency information.
  4. Circle with a diagonal slash: indicates prohibited or forbidden actions and objects. The 45-degree slash is located in the middle of the circle and goes from the upper left to the lower right.

The colours of safety signs

Red, blue, yellow and green colours are used in workplace safety signs.

  1. Red: emphasises forbidden or unsafe actions, such as the No Smoking sign. It is also used to mark areas for firefighting equipment and other emergency devices. The red part occupies at least 35 per cent of the area of the sign.
  2. Yellow or amber: warns people of hazards and alerts them to take caution. The best example for this is the “kangaroo crossing” sign. The main purpose of yellow safety signs is to reduce unnecessary risks, especially in the workplace. The yellow part forms at least 50 percent of the sign.
  3. Blue: indicates a particular behaviour or action, such as an instruction to wear safety goggles and other personal protective equipment.
  4. Green: marks the location of first aid kits, fire exits, evacuation routes, escape ladders and other emergency measures. The green portion should be at least 50 per cent of the sign.
  5. Combination: signs that have multiple messages combine three colours. Yellow indicates that the site has safety hazards and is dangerous. Red prohibits unauthorised entry, and blue instructs visitors to report to the site office. These multi-message signs are generally used for garage entrances and construction sites where several messages need to be delivered in one place.
Types of Safety Signs

Types of safety signs

Workplace safety signs are classified into six types.

1. Prohibition signs

These are the “can’t do” signs with the universally recognisable red circle and slash. Classic examples are the “no entry”, “no smoking” and “no open flames” signs.

2. Mandatory signs

These are also known as the “must-do” signs. They contain instructions that have to be followed and can easily be recognised by a white symbol or pictogram inside a blue circle.

3. Danger signs

These are the signs that basically say something can kill you. You’ll find them in areas where hazardous conditions or life-threatening hazards are present. Examples of danger signs include “do not enter” and “high voltage.”

4. Warning signs

These are the “something can hurt you” signs. Warning signs are placed in areas where hazards are not life threatening but could hurt you. They are easily identifiable by their yellow background and hazard symbol inside a black triangle. “Slippery when wet” is a common warning sign found in industrial kitchens and supermarkets.

5. Emergency information signs

These signs help people locate the first aid kit or find their way out of a building in emergency situations. They can be identified by a green background and white symbols and writing. Some examples of emergency information signs are “automated external defibrillator (AED)” and “emergency telephone.”

6. Fire signs

These signs indicate the location of fire extinguishers, fire blankets, fire hoses and other fire-fighting equipment. They are easy to spot with their bright red colour and white symbols and writing.

The safety signage expert

If you’re looking to source safety signs and evacuation diagrams, come to a specialist with more than 20 years of experience. At Safety Maps, we have a portfolio of over 5,000 projects throughout Australia. Satisfied clients across all industries – from mining to hospitality – continue to trust us to fulfil their visual solutions needs. We’re sure we can take care of yours, too. Call us today to learn more. We have offices in Sydney and on the NSW Central Coast.

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