Fire Extinguisher Identification

Under BS EN 3 operative from the 1st January 1997, all new certified fire extinguishers used in European Union countries must feature red bodies. In line with familiar UK practice, BS 7863 allows manufacturers to affix coloured identification panels on or above the operating instructions covering no more than 5% of the body surface area and visible through a horizontal arc of 180 degrees when the extinguisher is mounted.

The new harmonised European standard on fire extinguishers – BS EN3 –  which came into effect in 1st January 1997, provides a single standard for fire extinguishers across Europe. It replaced the old British Standard BS 5423, which has now been withdrawn.

BS EN3 is the standard now used for the specification, manufacturing and purchase of extinguishers in the UK. An additional standard BS 7863 details the revised colour coding system and supplements BS EN3.

BS EN3 is not retrospective and pre-existing extinguishers do not need to be replaced with extinguishers to this new standard. However, any replacements as a result of damage, wear or un-serviceability or new extinguishers will need to meet this new, later standard. While BSEN3 has now been in place for a number of years, understanding the colours and codes should be part of your regular health and safety training and form part of your new staff induction programme. There are a number of resources such as Fire Extinguisher Colour Guide Code Charts that can serve as staff information points and training aids. Fire Extinguisher location panels can aid your routine premises maintenance. As well as providing information on the use of the particular fire extinguisher mounted they also give a visual warning as to when the extinguisher has been used and not replaced.

The New Standard Fire Extinguisher Standard
The main differences between the old and new standards are:

  • A minimum of 95% of the extinguisher body must be red
  • Zones of colour, indicating the contents of the extinguisher, are permitted
  • The markings on the extinguisher must follow a specified layout
  • Pictograms are used indicating the type of fires that the extinguisher is suitable for
  • A minimum body shell thickness is specified
  • Minimum fire performance ratings for the size of the extinguisher are specified
  • Operating temperatures of some extinguishers are increased
  • Some discharge times are increased

Although there are many technical changes and the improvements in the new standard, the most noticeable change is to the colour of the extinguisher bodies.

Fire Extinguisher Colours and Codes

Understanding the colours and codes should be part of your regular health and safety training and form part of your new staff induction programme. In the UK we were used to a system of using the colour of the body of the extinguisher to indicate its contents. However, this system has been peculiarly British with all extinguishers in Europe being coloured completely red.

Since extinguisher colour is no longer used to identify the type of the extinguisher, it falls to the standard pictograms to illustrate the types of fire that extinguisher can be used on. The pictograms are: Fire Extinguisher Types Pictogram

Class A fires involving organic solids; e.g. wood, paper
Class B fires involving flammable liquids
Class C fires involving flammable gases
Class F fires involving cooking oil and fat

A concession was made in this latest standard for a small zone of colour to be available on the body of the extinguisher to further help identify the contents of the extinguisher. A colour zone of up to 5% of the surface area of the extinguisher can be positioned on the top half of the front of the extinguisher body and be visible from 180 degrees. The British Standard BS 7863 outlines the colours that can be used in this way and follows the colour coding that has been used for many years. In addition, there is now a new colour for the Wet Chemical extinguisher (see guide above). The colour codes are:

Red – Water
Cream – Foam
Blue – Powder
Black – Carbon Dioxide
Canary Yellow – Wet Chemical

A further effect of the latest standard is that customised colours (most commonly chromed stainless steel) are no longer allowed; although, as there is no immediate need to change these extinguishers, they (and particularly the stainless extinguishers) may well be in use for some considerable time.

Replacement of Extinguishers
Even though pre-existing extinguishers do not need to be replaced, the gradual appearance of the new, latest standard extinguishers alongside older types may cause some confusion. The continued presence of other coloured extinguishers in an area may suggest to some users that the red extinguishers will contain water but this might not be the case, with potentially serious consequences.

Everyone should now what to do in the event of a fire and this includes being able to select the appropriate type of extinguisher to use. To reduce the chances of confusion, mixing new and old standard extinguishers in the same area or building should be avoided.

Note also that the British Standard on servicing BS5306: Part 4 states that all extinguishers installed in any one building or single occupancy should have the same method of operation and, if intended for the same function, should all be similar in shape, appearance and colour.

Summary for Fire Extinguisher Identification

  • Ensure that all new extinguishers obtained comply with BS EN3
  • Ensure that everyone is able to identify the different types of fire extinguisher and their respective use through training and guides
  • Provide information on the colour standards for fire extinguishers
  • Clearly sign extinguishers and their use with fire safety equipment signs
  • Do not mix extinguishers conforming to the old and new standards
  • Do not mix extinguishers which have different operating methods

Stocksigns has the largest range of fire safety signs on the market for more information on these and our other safety signs why not order our safety signs catalogue or call our Sales Team on 01737 77 40 72.

Where to use Electrical Emergency Luminaires

Emergency lighting is designed to illuminate automatically the emergency escape route (i.e. staircases, landings, passageways etc.) upon failure of the supply to the normal artificial lighting. The emergency lighting must comply with BS 5266: 2005. It is vital that emergency lighting comes on if the normal lighting fails. It needs to be sufficiently bright, illuminated for enough time, and the light sources so positioned that the staff and visitors of a building can be evacuated safely in an emergency

Siting of Luminaires

Luminaires should be sited in the following positions:

  • At each exit door
  • At each intersection of corridors
  • At each change of direction
  • Close to each staircase
  • Close to any change in floor level
  • Close to fire equipment and alarm call point locations
  • At locations that adequately illuminate emergency escape and safety signs

Maintained & Non-maintained Systems.

Non-maintained systems are used in buildings with a limited occupation time, such as offices and shops, and only operate when the power fails. In general, Maintained systems are required for places of entertainment and licensed premises and can be on all the time from normal mains supply, remaining on when the power fails.

For more information contact our sales team on Tel 01737 77 40 72 or sales@stocksigns.co.uk

Top 10 signage areas to consider for the Disability Discrimination Act

Safety signs and Disability Discrimination Act

On October 1st 2004 the final stage of the goods, facilities and services provisions part 3 of the Disability Discrimination Act came into force. Although the legislation has been in place for some time our need to meet the guidelines is still firmly in place. This article is a reminder of what we need to consider in terms of signs and our obligations to the DDA.

The aim of this legislation is to achieve equality between the disabled and able-bodied; it introduces a basic duty not to treat disabled people less favourably than others. The new basic duty or obligations apply to anyone providing a paid or unpaid service to the public. As a “service provider” you must ensure that access is available to all disabled people and that entry routes, facilities and all information are clearly defined and indicated by suitable signage. The regulations concern access, mobility and site signage, they apply to all service providers, ranging from large corporations to small businesses (not the owners of the premises).

Under recent changes to part 2 of the Act, all employers must now ensure that they do not discriminate against disabled people in terms of recruitment and employment conditions. Compliance with the DDA can be achieved effectively by most businesses within a modest budget; however, planning is essential to ensure that the disabled user is not at a disadvantage. The new provisions are a further important step towards ensuring that disabled people have access to services that others take for granted.

10 Sign areas to consider with the Disability Discrimination Act

You are required to make reasonable adjustments to your premises; the areas to be considered are the signing and marking of:

  1. designating disabled car parking bays
  2. setting down points
  3. routes to and around buildings
  4. building entrances and exits
  5. directions to facilities i.e. lifts, stairs, reception, toilets, restaurants etc.
  6. information on additional services available to the disabled
  7. clear indication of help points
  8. emergency exit routes
  9. emergency disabled refuge points
  10. the enhancement of general information signage

For additional advice on signage and the DDA we would recommend carrying out a site survey for your premises.

Safety Signs – How to clean your safety signs

Safety signs are placed around shops and businesses, typically warning staff, customers and passersby that there is a hazard or safety issue. The safety signs over time can become dull and dirty from various elements that accumulate on them, this can obscure the valuable workplace safety message but also can make your premises look unkempt. These signs are often made of a hard rigid plastic, vinyl or aluminium, allowing you to easily clean your safety signs with inexpensive ingredients. For added protection and increased longevity email our sales team about having your safety signs made with “POF” protective overlay film.

Things You’ll Need to clean your safety signs:

  • Bucket
    Water
    Mild soap
    Vinegar
    Cleaning rag
    Nylon brush

Instructions for Cleaning your safety signs

1. Fill a bucket with about 2 litres warm water and 2 tbsp. of a mild detergent such as washing up liquid or laundry detergent. For a disinfectant quality, add an optional 1/2 cup of white vinegar.

2. Dip a soft cleaning rag into the cleaner and wipe it over your safety signs.

3. Very gently swish a nylon scrub brush into the cleaner if needed when heavier residue is present, again wiping over the sign until all grime is removed.

4. Wipe down the sign again with a clean, damp rag and allow to air dry.

Safety Signs as Safety Communication Tools

Safety signs and symbols are important safety communicating tools, they help to indicate various hazards that present in plant site or workplace. At the same time, they warn workers to always keep watching out for those hazards by giving required information and safety instructions.

Safety signs and symbols do not only inform the presence of hazards, but also help create workers’ safety awareness. It is very important in reducing accidents in the workplace more obviously in maufacturing, heavy industry and on construction sites but also important in office based environments too.

To get the most out of health and safety signs and symbols, you should choose the right ones for each work location on your premises. Each work area needs different workplace health and safety signs and symbols. This is because each work area has different types of hazards. A risk assesment of each activity or designated area will help identify hazards. Appropriate actions for ensuring safety can then be drawn up and selecting the appropriate safety signs can then be selected. Where possible safety signs shown be changed (at least their location) to keep the safety message fresh and to avoid “sign blindness”.

Safety Signs and Symbols Standards

Safety signs and symbols consist of messages, words and pictorial symbol with variety of sizes, shapes and colours. All the shapes and colours are standardised. Each shape has different meaning and each colour reflects specific meaning.

Using standardised health and safety signs and symbols will make them understandable and overcome language barriers and the new ISO 7010 standard is the first step towards a global harmonization of safety symbols. More indepth infomation can be found at Safety Signs, Symbols and Colour Codes – a simple guide

Safety Signs – Shapes

The shapes of workplace health and safety signs are triangles, circles and squares or rectangles.

i. Triangles: indicates caution (potential hazards) or warning (definite hazards), for example toxic gas and electric shock.

ii. Circles: mandatory or recommended actions and are normally used to depict an action you must do, for example wearing eye goggles and safety hard hats.

iii. Squares or rectangles: shows information, i.e. general information and emergency information (first aid, fire fighting).

iv. A Circle with a 45° diagonal slash across the middle from the upper left to the lower right: points out forbidden or prohibited actions.

Safety Signs – Colours

The colours used in workplace safety signs and symbols are red, yellow, blue and green.

i. Red signs: designates areas for emergency devices like fire fighting equipment, or to emphasise unsafe or forbidden actions.

ii. Yellow: notifies workers to take caution and be alerted of hazards, reducing necessary risks.

iii. Blue: shows a particular action or behavior, for example instruction to wear personal protective equipment.

iv. Green: designates the location of emergency measures or equipment like first aid kits, evacuation routes, fire exits, escape ladders, or fire assembly points.

Safety Signs – Pocket Guides

Simple pocket guide with at a glance guide to the different colours and symbols used in safety signs make excellent reference material for workplace safety training and can be issued as part of new employee induction training.

School Signs – Building School Identity with Signs

There are several elements of school signage schemes that can be used to build school identity. These can range from clear branded welcome boards, navigation signs, information signs, down to standard health and safety signs. They all have their part to play in building school identity.

School Welcome Signs

The main school entrance signs and welcome boards are your first signage points of contact with staff, children, parents and visitors and are your primary identity builders. If you start with strong images and messages on these boards, these design elements can then be carried throughout the school and grounds on all the remaining signage.

Navigational and Wayfinding School Signs

Your wayfinding signs should carry the same branding elements e.g. school colours and logos etc as your “Welcome” School signs. Directories and wayfinding sign systems aim to make navigation around unfamiliar grounds and buildings as simple as possible. These signs are often the second point of contact after the “Welcome Boards” that people have with your school and first impressions count. As well as the functionality of the sign, design and aesthetics should be considered. School names and logos should be recognised at a glance and directional instructions should be instantly understood. An efficient way finding system will help new students orientate themselves quickly and alleviate some of the anxiety felt by new pupils. If they can find their way round easily from the start they will have a much more comfortable and relaxed start to their time at your school. All these small elements help to build a positive feel to the identity of the school.

Information School Signs

Children’s information signs help to create boundaries and guidelines to keep children safe. By publishing some of the guidelines you advertise your commitment to safety and to children’s personal and social development. Our article on using school and playground signs as teaching aids illustrates how they can be used to promote people skills and relationship building as well as traditional learning. For general information signs and notices use your school colours and keep the font used the same throughout. Even the simplest of information signs benefits from adding your school logo – adding authority to your messages. Use bright 3D Pictorial signs in your premises, these not only soften harsh building environments and add colour but work as teaching aids and can help students with learning difficulties. Use banners not only to advertsise school events in the community but also to celebrate success.

They can be used to display fundraising targets, results or just good news.

School Safety Signs

Safety signs have an obvious purpose – they are used to protect and guide pupils, staff and visitors. There is a legislative obligation to have the correct signage in place. However if you have to have them you may as well get them to work harder and promote your school identity. Add you school logo or name to help create uniformity throughout the school. Use braille sign versions of safety signs to aid your commitment to DDA regulations and children with special needs. Many signage companies will carry our signs site surveys to make sure you are complying with the latest safety sign legislation giving peace of mind to staff and parents.

By careful planning your signs can do so much more, whether replacing worn-out signs or going through a refurbishment make sure every sign you purchase works hard in terms of functionality but also helps reflect your school identity.

How to use Signs to Build Company Brand – Part 2 Way Finding Signs

You don’t need to be a Marketing Guru to know that advertising helps promote a business and is vital to success. There are many ways to advertise and signs are one way of the most cost-effective and visual ways to do so. There are many forms of signs, each with their own roles to play within a business. Signs can be divided into four main groups: corporate signage, wayfinding signs, information signs and safety signs. Part 1 of this guide concentrated on how to get the best from your Corporate Signage. In Part 2 we are going to look at how you can use your functional wayfinding signs as part of your company branding campaign.

Directories and way finding sign systems aim to make navigation around unfamiliar grounds and buildings as simple as possible. These signs are often the first point of contact a customer has with your company and first impressions count. As well as functionality of the sign, design and aesthetics should be considered. Company names and logos need to be recognised at a glance and directional instructions should be instantly understood. By using the same colour themes and logos, your signage system can carry your brand identity throughout.

Graphically the signs should display your name and logo to its best advantage, different signage styles will suit different company brands, for example free standing monoliths have the advantage of having a large surface area to display additional graphic features to create impact and drama. However the functionality of your wayfinding signs and directories will also effect how your company is perceived. A complicated confusing signage system will give visitors a negative experience of your company no matter how well your logo is displayed. To help create a simple and effective navigation see our article on planning your wayfinding system

Don’t forget your internal signs – wayfinding and directories are an essential part of interior design and can influence a visitors perception of your company and the brand you are trying to create. By choosing an internal sign system such as a Slatz system or similar your sign theme can be carried from desk top signs through to suspended signs and directories.

Stocksigns’ extensive project management experience ensures that maximum benefit can be generated from your wayfinding: a system should be clear and simple but also help to strengthen your corporate identity. From planning routes, advising on styles to complete installation we can guide you through the whole process.

Part 3 of How to use signs to build company brand is coming soon – part 3 will concentrate on using general information signs to build brand as well as inform your staff and visitors.

Mobile phones and driving – protect your fleet

A substantial body of research shows that using a hand-held or hands-free mobile phone while driving is a significant distraction, and substantially increases the risk of the driver crashing.

Safety Signs and Training for Drivers

Stocksigns offer a range of transport safety signs and driving resources to help protect your staff and fleet. As a working partner of RoSPA we are proud to offer access to RoSPA Fleet Training and consultancy as well as a host of traffic signs.

For more details on Driver Development courses, Advanced Driver Training and Driver Risk Assessment tools such as “Driver Profiler” please call us on 01737764764 for more information.

Prohibition Mobile Phone Safety Signs

The issue of drivers using mobile phones just won’t go away, government and police schemes to raise awareness of the dangers of mobile phones has failed to eradicate the problem. We have a range of safety posters and signs to help you look after your staff and fleet including prohibition signs, traffic signs, information signs and hazard signs. Visit our signs shop or order a catalogue to learn more.

Drivers who use a mobile phone, whether hand-held or hands-free:

  • Are much less aware of what’s happening on the road around them.
  • Fail to see road signs.
  • Fail to maintain proper lane position and proper speed.
  • Are more likely to ‘tailgate’ the vehicle in front.
  • React more slowly and take longer to brake.
  • Are more likely to enter unsafe gaps in traffic.
  • Feel more stressed and frustrated.

They are also four times more likely to crash, injuring or killing themselves and/or other people – RoSPA

Safety Signs, Symbols and Colour – a simple guide

The use of symbols and graphical images is a simple safety system used to convey safety messages at a glance. Colours and symbols appropriately used can provide information and warnings of hazards which are essential to safety at work, and in some instances may be independent of language

The Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996 require employers to provide and maintain safety signs where there is significant risk to health and safety that has not been avoided or controlled by other means (e.g. safe systems of work) provided that the use of a sign can help reduce the risk. They also require, where necessary, the use of road traffic signs in workplaces to regulate road traffic. Employers must also ensure that all employees receive appropriate information, instruction and training regarding safety signs.  Although most signs are self-explanatory, some employees (particularly young or new workers) may be unfamiliar with the signs used.

WHAT IS A SAFETY SIGN?

A safety and/or health sign is defined as ‘information or instruction about health and safety at work on a signboard, a colour, an illuminated sign or acoustic signal, a verbal communication or hand signal.’

A signboard is a combination of shape, colour and symbol or pictogram made visible by adequate lighting and which may have supplementary text. See the table below to understand the purpose of different safety signs and their properties:

Colour Meaning or PurposeInstruction & InformationIntrinsic FeaturesExample
RED Prohibition/Danger alarmDangerous behaviour; stop; shutdown; emergency cut-out devices; evacuateRound shape; black pictogram on white background; red edging and diagonal line; red part to be at least 35% of the area of the sign 
YELLOW or AMBERWarningBe careful; take precautions; examineTriangular shape; black pictogram on yellow background with black edging; yellow part to be at least 50% of the area of the sign 
BLUE MandatorySpecific behaviour or action e.g. wear personal protective equipmentRound shape; white pictogram on blue background; blue part to be at least 50% of the area of the sign 
GREEN Emergency escape; first aid. No dangerDoors; exits; escape routes equipment and facilities Return to normalRectangular or square shape; white pictogram on green background; green part to be at least 50% of the area of the sign 
RED (fire-fighting signs)Fire fighting equipmentIdentification & locationRectangular or square shape; white pictogram on red background; red part to be at least 50% of the area of the sign 

 

COMBINATION SIGNS

Under ISO 7010 legislation safety signs can be combined to give multiple messages.

Combination sign

This sign gives a hazard warning (yellow) that the site is dangerous. It gives a prohibition instruction (red) that there must be no unauthorised entry and a mandatory instruction (blue) that a course of action must be taken – visitors report to site office.

These multi message signs are ideal for construction sites or garage forecourts where a combination of messages can be delivered in one place in potentially dangerous environments.

 

BARRIER TAPES

Barrier tape can be used where the marking of dangerous locations is deemed necessary (e.g. highlighting the edge of a raised platform or area or restricted heights). They can be used internally or externally to help alert people of a hazard or danger.

We supply a range of different tapes such as reflective hazard warning tapes, self-adhesive photoluminescent tape, graphic barricade tape and pipeline identification tape. Please call a member of a sales team on 01737 774072 to discuss your tape requirements.

black and yellow hazard barrier tape

 

ISO 7010 HAS NOW BEEN IMPLEMENTED

Large elements of the British Standard BS5499 symbols have now been changed. The new symbols based on the international standard ISO 7010 have been introduced. The basic principles of understanding safety symbols have remained the same i.e. colour and shape of out line symbol but some of the icons/symbols have changed.

For more advice contact our sales team on 01737 774072 or send us an email.

Wayfinding and signage in London

London is a great city for walking. The Mayor’s vision is to make it one of the world’s most walking friendly cities by 2015. Walking is an enjoyable, free and accessible activity and for most people, a necessary part of their everyday journeys.

Legible London is a wayfinding project designed to improve the navigation throughout the Capital for people who want to walk. A study conducted on behalf of Transport for London found that the present multitude of standard signs in central London are ineffective and often confusing, and that there was a consequent over-reliance on the Tube map to help people navigate above ground. External directories and wayfinding sign systems can simplify the journey around unfamiliar grounds. Continue reading

Go Green – photoluminescent fire signs

Stocksigns ideas to help build your green credentials

Many companies are committed to recycling and purchasing non-toxic supplies, but they still work in buildings whose materials, electrical systems and waste systems were in place long before being “eco” became the business buzz word of the moment and before the economic benefits of being green were truly understood. Different companies will have different factors to consider when improving their green credentials. For example a solicitors firm will have different concerns than a construction site. But one way Continue reading

Getting the best from your Noticeboards.

Here are some factors to think about when choosing your external customised notice boards.

Tips on choosing the right noticeboard for you.

  • Where is your noticeboard to be displayed? We can provide noticeboards and lockable display cases that are sympathetic to your environment, or offer advice on the levels of weather or vandal protection your bespoke signs may require.
  • What information are you going to display? Is the information permanent or require updating regularly. We offer notice boards with fabric covered pin boards which are also velcro friendly, magnetic or fixed permanent display. Locking notice boards give flexibility and security. These can also be simple tamper proof snap frames / clip poster frames that allow very quick access to update your display.
  • When will the information be viewed? Illumination can be incorporated extending optimum viewing conditions. Lighting increases the functionality of your sign or noticeboard, not only making viewing easier, but adding to the aesthetics of your display.

wooden noticeboard, display casesStocksigns the signage manufacturer

DDA Signage Solutions for Surface Rail

Stocksigns have produced an A5 reference guide to assist you with understanding the type of way finding needed for the DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) and SFA (Step Free Access) improvement schemes.

Network Rail have undertaken a comprehensive program to improve many managed station facilities. Under the Disabled Peoples Protection Policy (DPPP), access to platforms is being improved. This usually means the provision of a new footbridge with lifts or when possible, lift towers developed next to an existing footbridge giving a step free route between platforms.

Although new rail signage schemes are sponsored by Network Rail in most cases the signage should be complementary to what is in existence on the station. Station signage is usually specific to individual operators. Most train operators have their own typeface, colour scheme, and corporate identity that specifies what is required.

At Stocksigns we understand the signage requirements for these projects supplying DDA compliant signs in a train operator’s correct branding. Stocksigns have the knowledge that not only allows us to offer a compliant signage package but will offer it in a design that uses the correct identity. Our signs can bear directions, warnings, names, and advertising to help guide customers on their journey.

The Stocksigns DDA Signage Solutions guide has been designed as an easy reference tool depicting the various generic sign types and their applications.