Safety Signs – The Law

Recognised safety signs may be required where there is an identifiable risk.

The requirements for safety signs are covered by the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996. Risk assessments, as required by the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, will identify the need and positioning of signs.

Designs of signs
Safety sign design should fall into one of six categories:

  1. Prohibition - black symbol on a white background inside a red circle with a red diagonal line across the circle.
  2. Warning - black symbol on a yellow background inside a black triangle.
  3. Mandatory - white symbol on a blue circular background.
  4. Emergency escapes - white symbol on a green square or rectangular background
  5. Fire-fighting - white symbol on a red rectangular or square background
  6. Obstacles or dangerous locations - alternating yellow and black stripes.

Other signs and posters

  • Health and safety law poster (legally required).
  • Certificate of Employer's Liability Insurance (legally required).
  • No smoking signs.
  • Electric shock treatment poster.

Further information
The Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996

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