The importance of safety signage at work

The importance of safety signage at work Midlands Health and Safety Consultancy

In many places of work, from construction sites to warehouses, safety signage is a necessary part of worker safety and awareness. They are in place to help prevent injury and ensure staff and visitors are fully equipped for any hazards ahead and in different areas of work.

To have correctly displayed safety signage in the workplace is integral to meet health and safety standards that helps in looking after employees and visitors. Our latest article looks at the importance of signage at work and the safety benefits they bring.

In order to comply with the Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996, there are a number of scenarios where signage must be provided. Regardless of the industry your business operates within, there is a high probability that you will require some form of safety sign, whether that be something as simple as a ‘Caution: Low Beam’ sign.

The HSE website contains more details about these specific instances. If there is a ‘significant risk that can’t be avoided or controlled in any way’, then a sign is needed. Not only is it the right thing to do, but you might find yourself in legal difficulties if you neglect your safety signage obligations.

The different types of safety signs

There are four compulsory UK workplace safety signs, including: emergency, prohibition, warning and mandatory. Most safety signs are colour-coded and categorised, but not every type of sign is essential for every workplace. The main types of safety signs in and around the workplace are:

Red – Prohibited: Signs with a red border such as ‘no unauthorised access’ or ‘no smoking’ signs, are present when an action is not allowed on the premises.

Yellow – Warning: These signs warn people of danger in the area, examples of yellow signs are ‘high voltage’ and ‘hazardous area’ signs.

Blue – Mandatory/site safety: Blue safety signs are usually outside of an industrial site to inform staff and visitors of what they need to know before entering an area. Examples of these signs are ‘Compulsory PPE requirements’.

Green – Health & safety: Health and safety signs inform people of where to go in an emergency. Green signs are often used to indicate the location of first aid, fire doors and emergency equipment.


Where should safety signs be used?

The location of your safety signs will impact their effectiveness. They should be strategically placed around the workplace in areas where:

  • There is a specific risk that could cause injury (such as falling objects or moving vehicles)
  • There are hazards that are not immediately obvious (such as radiation or high voltage)
  • There are temporary hazards (such as ice on walkways or wet floors)
  • There are areas requiring PPE (such as hearing protection or hard hats)
  • There are dangerous substances being used (such as flammable or toxic chemicals)
  • There is any other hazard that could pose a health problem (such as asbestos or excessive noise levels)


As such, it is essential for businesses to have up-to-date signage.  Enforced by the HSE, if non-compliant signage is being used it could lead to extensive fines or serious consequences including prison sentences, personal injuries or even loss of life. For further information on the importance of safety signage at work, please contact us here.


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