The Top 10 Safety Signs

top 10 safety signsThe Top 10 safety Signs

Every non domestic premise in the UK is governed by safety legislation and as such will have a need for safety signs. Safety signage is a cost effective and efficient way to warn and educate people to the particular risks associated with a building. While there are some signs, such as fire signs, which will be common to all buildings, there are many others which will only be relevant in certain situations. The way to determine the signs needed should be by way of a full risk assessment and perhaps a sign site survey.

Below we have put together our top 10 list of the typical signs likely to be found in businesses and public buildings, but please bear in mind that every building has different requirements and signage should be judged on individual risk assessments.


health and safety law poster


1. UK Health and Safety Law Poster.

There is a legal requirement to display this poster or distribute equivalent leaflet.

 

 

 

fire action notice2. Fire Action Notices

These are needed to show actions necessary in an emergency such as sounding a fire alarm,

 

 

 

 

 

fire exit sign3. Fire Exit and Emergency Escape signs

These are used to indicate emergency routes and emergency escapes. Used to mark safe means of escape.

ire equipment signs4. Fire Equipment Signs

These are used to mark the location of fire fighting and fire safety equipment.

 

 

 

 

first aid signs5. First Aid Signs

Signs showing the location of first aid facilities. No longer a legal requirement but the Electric Shock Emergency Action sign is also recommended.

 

 

 

 

no smoking signs5. No Smoking

July 2007 saw a total smoking ban in all enclosed public places, work places and certain vehicles in the UK. The smoke free legislation means it is an offence not to display the appropriate No Smoking Signs, resulting in fines up to £1000.

 

 

 

slipper floor signs7. Wet Floors

These need to be used wherever a slippery area is not cordoned off. Most premises will have routine cleaning operations which may leave areas vulnerable. Lightweight stands holding double-sided signs are readily available.

 

 

 

 

mind the step signs 8. Obstacles or Dangerous Locations.

Most buildings however well designed will have localized hazards, the most common of which are trip hazards and low hanging obstacles. So in joint 8th place we have the trip hazard, mind the step and mind your head signs.

caustic, hazardous chemical signs9. Chemical Storage.

Where hazardous cleaning chemicals are stored, apart from keeping the store locked, a suitable warning notice should be posted if it is considered this would help to reduce injury.

first aid for burns posters10. Kitchens/Catering

Most premises have kitchen or catering facilities. Scalds and burns are common, a poster showing recommended action is advisable.

Fire Action Notices Conveying Evacuation Procedures Effectively

fire action noticesFire action notices can contain several texts which are in common use but may not be appropriate for all circumstances but there are certain messages that should be included. There are four significant areas that need to be addressed.

1.       Raising the Alarm.

This should advise of the most appropriate method of action whether this be by operating the nearest fire alarm call point, calling 999, verbally or by any other alarm procedure used in there evacuation procedure.

2.      Fire Brigade.

The fire brigade is often called automatically through the alarm system, however it may be necessary to call the fire brigade manually. Your Fire Action notice may also give additional information which you would be required to pass on to the operator, such as telephone number and exact location details.

3.       Assembly Point

A blank space is provided for details of the nearest assembly point. An assembly point is usually a static safe area marked with the appropriate signage. For premises that have no clear area to use as a regular assembly point mobile extendable fire assembly point signs can be used to guide occupants to the designated safe area.

4.       Additional Instruction

It is customary to include further instructions such as “do not stop to collect personal belongings” or “ do not return to the building for any reason until authorised to do so”.

More specific information can be included for example there can be precise instructions in buildings which have lifts, or for houses that have multiple occupancy.

 Where should you display your fire action notices?

Best practice suggests fire action notices should be displayed next to every fire alarm call point and next to the final fire exits. This gives the relevant information at a glance to the person raising the alarm and any further action that maybe required.

There are two distinct styles of fire action notice, one the traditional blue and red sign with written instructions and the other incorporating graphic symbols in line with BS EN ISO 7010. Both of which meet current legislation however the graphic symbol version is growing in popularity due to the effectiveness of relaying information quickly through symbols which would be critical in an evacuation situation.

fire action notices

pictorial Fire Action Notices

Safety Signs in the workplace

ISO 7010 safety signsGeneral Safety Signs

Safety is a hot topic in most businesses regardless of industry sector. Safety signs or warning signs are helpful in indicating various hazards ahead. These signs also help in reducing accidents at a given workplace.

These safety signs may consists of words with safety messages, pictorial warning symbols that consists various sizes, shapes, and colours. Each colour is standardized and reflects a meaning (see our post of safety signs colours and meanings). On the other hand, there are some types of safety signs which are often in the form of posters and are designed to provide significant information or instructions to the employees, informing them of their duties and responsibilities. Other signs are designed to be displayed, when the areas are cleaned, displaying a warning that the floor is wet, often temporary and portable in nature.

When you are performing at work or in a place that is prone to accidents or an area identified by your risk assessments, the signs here are needed to guide you as you perform your tasks in the safest way possible.


Regardless of the kind of industry, safety signs are needed in every business. Hospital, construction sites, restaurants, hotels, cafes, bars, etc. are in need of these signs. Employers also need to spend time to familiarize themselves with these laws and other requirements for health and safety, and be sure that they have relevant safety signs. A reputable safety sign company can organise a site survey of your premises to ensure your signage meets current legislation and safety best practice.

Safety is an important issue that can have a huge impact on the business, whether it is big or small, regardless of the industry. Failing to update your signage as your business changes, could lead to extensive fines or have more serious consequences including prison sentences, personal injuries or even loss of life. For traditional businesses, there are various kinds of basic safety signs and symbols that might be required. It is of utmost importance that employees are well-protected from any kind of danger all the time, thus a good range of safety signs are necessary in the business.

Summer Safety Signage Audit

Summer Safety Signage Audit

The summer months and the holiday season are the ideal time to carry out a signage audit. Your business premises may be quieter, as staff jet off on their well earned breaks, often leaving car parks and buildings temporarily easier to access. Use this time and the increased access to assess your company signage, making sure signs are present, in good condition and correct to the latest legislation.

Also the summer can be a time when there maybe a need to increase security to your grounds or buildings. Building sites and disused quarries can seem attractive places to play, potentially with tragic consequences, so ensuring your boundary safety signs are all in place becomes critical.

Taking Stock of your Safety Signs

Take time to walk around your premises, it may take a couple of trips round if you have a large or complicated building layout.
Note all your existing fire and safety signs. Do you have all the necessary signs covered byincorrect safety signs - no fire alarm
legislation? Through the course of the year things happen to your building, were signs
replaced after that wall got repainted? Were your signs covered up when you had the last office move round? This photograph illustrates a common example. The fire alarm call points in this hotel were relocated during a refit. Unfortunately the sign has not been updated and the fire action notice now marks just a redundant blanking plate. On the flip side, you guessed it, the alarm call points were relocated but they missing safety signs - fire alarmhave failed to install the correct fire equipment signage to mark its new location. Many people find that their fire signage is often in the wrong place, check your emergency escape signage is being displayed properly. If you are not sure whether you are completely covered legally get a site survey done to give you peace of mind.
While it isn’t yet a requirement to change all your existing safety signs to the new ISO 7010 versions, the advice is not to mix signage from different legislative standards. Best practice recommends, if changes or additions are needed, updating to the most recent standard.This photo shows a BS 5499 fire exit sign directly mounted next to a sign with symbols from the EEC directive 92/58, which could lead to confusion.mixing safety signs

Care of your safety Signs

Safety signs over time can become dirty or damaged and several environmental factors can effect your signs. Signs in areas of high traffic can become dirty quickly. Make sure all signs are clean and clear and can be easily read, and cleaned where needed. If they are illegible and beyond cleaning replace where necessary.
For more information about safety signs or any other signage query please contact our sales team at sales@stocksigns.co.uk

Everything you always wanted to know about COSHH (but were too afraid to ask!) – by RoSPA

Spill kit2 COSHH

A Guide to COSHH – A Guest post from RoSPA

If you’ve ever had any dealings with any aspect of Health and Safety, the chances are you’ve come across the acronym COSHH or one of the COSHH symbols. However, you may still be uncertain about what COSHH actually stands or what the symbols mean. Don’t worry though, help is at hand with our informative short guide to COSHH.

 What does COSSH stand for?

COSHH stands for ‘Control of Substances Hazardous to Health’ and under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002, employers need to either prevent or reduce their workers’ exposure to substances that are hazardous to their health.

 What are ‘substances hazardous to health?’

 Broadly speaking, substances hazardous to health include any substances that could cause harm to employees, contractors and other people. These hazardous substances can come in many different forms, including:

  • Chemicals
  • Fumes
  • Dusts
  • Vapours
  • Mists
  • Nanotechnology
  • Gases
  • Asphyxiating gases
  • Biological agents

 

 What do the COSHH symbols stand for?

The COSHH symbols are a set of international symbols that allow you to understand the different hazards within your organisation. They have been in use since 1967, with each symbol representing a different type of hazard. In 2009 the symbols were updated to reflect the international nature of hazardous substances. See the chart below for a guide to the new international hazard symbols:

COSHH symbols

COSHH Training

COSHH training is designed to safeguard your employees, teaching them to to identify, measure and control the exposure to harmful substances. A COSHH training course should provide you with:

 

  • An understanding of how and which substances can harm health
  • Knowledge and definitions of exposure limits
  • Skills to understand exposure and to conduct risk assessments
  • A greater understanding of practical control measures and safe systems of work

 Where can I find out more?

The HSE has a free downloadable guide called ‘Working with substances hazardous to health’ – which is a brief overview of COSHH.

The RoSPA Workplace Safety Blog also contains further information on COSHH, as well as other useful posts on all matters relating to occupational health and safety.

 warning signs and guide

See our offer on this COSHH information pack

Care Home Signs and Signage for Supported Living

Care Home Signs Specialist Stocksigns

We have produced a short video clip of some of our examples of care home signs. Stocksigns have been working with care providers for many years and as a result our product range within the retirement living sector has grown substantially.

We have a large range of care-home signs available from our on line shop. Or for more information contact our dedicated Care Home Team.

What size sign should I use? A viewing distance guide

What size signs should I use? – Viewing Distances For Signs

We are often asked by customers what size sign they should be using, particularly with regard to safety signs. The truth is there is no hard and fast rule for size of sign and viewing distances. Currently there is no legislation covering this aspect of safety signs and symbols, and common sense has to be used to make a judgement. The viewing distance for signs is dependant on many factors.

  • Ambient Light Conditions
  • Obstructions
  • Height of the sign
  • The colours of the sign design
  • The style and size of the fonts used

However to help in choosing the right signs and make more of an informed decision, the following illustrations will serve as a guide. If you would still like some assistance call our sales team on 01737 77 40 72, or alternatively a site survey  of your premises by one of our team, can give you peace of mind, ensuring you have the right signs for your building.

what size signs - viewing distances for fire signs

Cycle Safety Signs – Vehicle Mounted Signs

Cycle safety signs warning Cyclistscycle safety signs about the dangers of passing a vehicle on the left-hand side – DO NOT PASS ON THIS SIDE SIGNS

Cycle safety signs from Stocksigns. Every year 15,000 cyclists are killed or injured on our roads. The most common accident is the motorist turning into the path of cyclists. This is an issue that has been taken very seriously by freight operating companies and safety campaigners alike. Working with some major aggregate companies, Stocksigns has developed vehicle mounted warning cycle safety signs directed at cyclists and warning them of the danger of undertaking lorries, particularly at traffic lights.

Cycle Safety Signs

 

cycle safety signcycle safety signs 02941

Stocksigns has a huge range of safety signs for cyclists and are working closely with FORS to help improve safety on the roads in the Capital. RoSPA have produced this short educational film highlighting the dangers faced by pedal cyclists, especially in relation to lorries on the road.

Safety Signs – RoSPA’s Business case for Safety

 Roger Bibbings, RoSPA’s Occupational Safety Adviser talks about how, during these times of austerity, now is not the time to cut back, but instead invest in health and safety. Safety Signs can be a key part of this.

Safety Signs

Safety signs are a cost effective way of enhance your safety policy. They can be used to warn of inherent dangers, they can be used to promote safety awareness and used as training aids in safety training. A site survey from Stocksigns can help ensure your premises meet current legislation and best practice.

Viewing Distances For Safety Signs – a Simple Guide

emergency exit signsThe optimum viewing distances for safety signs depends largely on the size of font used, the position and to some degree the font style and colours used.

For escape route signage risk assessments should be carried out where appropriate and reference to BS 5499, Part 4 : 2000 Safety signs, including fire safety signs. Code of practice for escape route signing should be made.

Our Installation guide is for guidance only and your unique premises and building usage should also be taken into consideration. For further advice about viewing distances for safety signs speak to our sales staff on 01737 764764.

Viewing Distances for Safety Signs – A visual Guide

safety signs installation guide

Recommended installation heights:

Above doors:-         2m – 2.5m from floor level to base of sign

Directional wall fixed signs:-      1.4m-1.7m from floor level to base of sign.

Emergency Way Guidance using Photoluminescent Material

Photoluminescent way guidance

This photo was taken in the stairwell here at Stocksigns illustrating the intensity of the luminosity of Hilume.

In situations of emergency evacuation, especially when confronted by power failure, a way guidance system using photoluminescent tapes, signs and markers will help to indicate clearly defined escape routes, saving critical time for the evacuation of the building.

BS 5266-6: 1999, is a Code of Practice for non-electrical low mounted way guidance marking using a photoluminescent system. It recommends how to plan, design, install and maintain the system when used in conjunction with powered emergency lighting. The use of this standard, combines with BS ISO 16069:2004, Graphical symbols-Safety signs – Safety way guidance systems and BS 5499-4: 2000, Code of Practice for escape route signs, gives the answers to most questions that could be asked from those contemplating installing a photoluminescent way guidance system.

The installation of a photolumiescent way guidance system does not replace the use of powered emergency lighting when this is required, but compliments its existence. For a satisfactory performance, photoluminescent materials require initial activation from a good light source.

ISO 7010 – An Overview

ISO 7010 safety signsISO 7010 – An Introduction

Over the next few months we will see the adoption of a new standard for safety signs as ISO 7010 is soon to become Pr EN 7010. The change will see safety signs in the workplace move away from being an “International standard” (essentially a recommendation on best practice), to a European norm (meaning the contents of the standard must be written into UK and EU law). ISO 7010 has been developed to provide consistency in design across the EU. We will be phasing in the new designs throughout 2011 and you may notice some design changes to the symbols whereas others will look virtually unchanged. Whilst the new symbols will be replacing the old designs, both designs will still meet your safety obligations.

ISO 7010 – An Overview.

In the late seventies, as the European Community was coming into being, it was recognised that with a large migratory workforce within the EU countries, there would be a real problem communicating health and safety issues.

It was decided to create an international standard based on pictograms. This lead to the publishing, in 1984, of the first health and safety standard; ISO 3864-Safety Colours and Safety Signs, which is still current today and is the basis for both ISO 7010 and BS 5499.

Because ISO 3864 was not grounded in law, it did not become established across the EU. So, in 1992, a European Directive based on ISO 3864 was passed, which made it a legal requirement for member states to write the requirements into their countries health and safety legislation, this was EC Directive 92/58/EEC.
In the UK this took the form of the “Health & Safety (Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996.

The Directive was a bit vague regarding the symbols to be used and soon a variety of different symbols had developed across Europe, the “Euro” fire exit symbol being a good example.

The situation regarding these symbols now needed to be rectified.

Here in Britain, this lead to the revision of the previous standard and in 2002, BS5499:2002 Graphical Symbols and Signs, was issued.

The need for correct pictograms across Europe was now evident and so the International Standards Organisation were compelled to update their own standards and so, using BS 5499 as a basis, they split ISO 3864 into two parts:

ISO 3864:2002 – covering shape and colours, as before.
ISO 7010:2003 – covering pictograms.

As previously seen in the Eighties, for these changes to have any impact, it would be necessary to write this standard into law, which is the process we are in the middle of now.

Making ISO 7010 into an EN, means that the status of the standard will change from being a recommendation of best practice, to a European Norm, requiring that the contents of the Standard are written, without change, into all EU countries laws.

This means that there will be a legal requirement for the same sign to be used in every country for the same requirement.
It will mean that a fire exit sign in England will be the same as it would be in France, Spain, Germany or anywhere at all within the EU.

ISO 7010 – A Brief History – milestone timeline

Late seventies – large migratory workforce in the EEC
1978 – BS 5499 – Fire Safety Signs, Notices and Graphic Symbols
1992 – EC Directive 92/58/EEC
1996 – “The Health & Safety (Signs and Signals) Regulations
2002 – BS 5499:2002 – Graphical Symbols and Signs
2003 – ISO 3864:2002 and ISO 7010:2003ISO 7010, no smoking sign, prohibition safety signs

our new 2011 catalogue is has been completely updated to include the NEW ISO 7010 safety symbols

Safety Signs as Safety Communication Tools

Construction Safety Signs, Site safetyCommunication with Safety Signs

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 hazard. 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.Fire Safety Signs

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 euipment like first aid kits, evacuation routes, fire exits, escape ladders, or assembly point.

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.