Health, Safety &

Let's make our Workplace Safer

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You Must Know

Safety signs must be used whenever a hazard or danger can not be avoided adequately or reduced in another way.  Before installing safety signs an employer should examine whether the hazard can be avoided or reduced by collective precautions (precautions that protect everybody) or safer ways of doing the work.

The Safety Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 (Chapter 1 of Part 7: Safety Signs at Places of Work) apply to safety signs. 

A safety sign provides information about safety or health and can be a signboard, colour, acoustic signal, verbal communication, or hand signal.

A signboard is a sign that provides information or instruction using a combination of shape, colour and symbols but excludes information in writing.

Safety signboards should not contain text. This is because the symbols or pictograms on a signboard are intended to be understood, independently of the language ability of the worker viewing it.

Employers must provide information to employees on the meaning and requirements of any signs used in the workplace, especially where text on supplementary signboards is used.  

Safety signboards put in place after 1 November 2007 should not contain text. Text may be included on a supplementary signboard provided that it does not adversely affect the effectiveness of the safety signboard.

A supplementary signboard (often with text) is used to give clarity to a signboard. A signboard and supplementary signboard can be located on one "carrier". A carrier could be a single sheet of metal, plywood, laminated plastic or other material as might be appropriate to a location.

Employers must provide information to employees on the meaning and requirements of any signs used in the workplace, especially where text on supplementary signboards is used.

Where a signboard is already in place before 1 November 2007 and it meets all the requirements of Part 7 and Schedule 9 to the General Application Regulations 2007, except that it contains text, an employer may leave that signboard in place until 1 January 2011.

  • Red for prohibition
  • Yellow for caution
  • Green for positive action
  • Blue for mandatory actions
  • O Discs for prohibitions and instructions
  • Δ Triangles for warnings
  •  Squares and rectangles for emergency and information signs

About the author

Hi, I am Biswabhusan Jena a Corporate HSE (Health, Safety & Environment) professional having 16+ years of experience in Transmission & Distribution, Thermal power plant, Oil & Gas, Pipeline & Tankage & Road Transport sectors. Presently based in Gurugram HO of an European MNC as Head of HSE.

On educational front, a qualified HSE Professional having completed Post Diploma Industrial Safety after Diploma in Electrical Engineering,also completed Bachelors program in Fire & Safety Engineering from National Integrated Institute of Business Management & Technology. I also hold an Advance Diploma in Information Technology from NIIT.