Workplace safety signs and meanings are key parts of keeping your workplace safe from all sorts of hazards.
Whether it’s general instructions, warnings, hazchem labels and danger signs, each one needs to be clearly visible and legible if people are to read, understand and follow them.
That’s why signs use highly visual messages that can be easily identified, read, and understood – we’re talking big text, easy-to-understand images and colours that “pop”.
Of course, they only really work if people can see them clearly!
A signage failure doesn’t just mean failing to hang up all the mandatory signs Australia requires. In some cases, you can have all the right signs, only to still be hit with a fine because said signs can’t be seen!
Why should safety signs and symbols be visible in the workplace?
Simple: if your workers and visitors can’t see safety signs and symbols, are they really doing their job?
It’s like what they say about the tree falling in the forest – if no-one can see the sign, you can’t really say it’s helping to keep your workplace safe!
Some of the issues that affect visibility include…
Whether it’s stacks of cardboard boxes, discarded pallets or equipment, anything that physically blocks a sign from view is something you need to address, ASAP.
And by “address”, we don’t just mean removing the obstruction – sometimes, that simply won’t be possible.
For example, if you’ve installed a new shelf in front of where your signs are hung, you can’t exactly dismantle it and move it! In these cases, a better option is to just move the sign somewhere where it can be seen.
Think of sightlines
From where you’re standing your signs are visible.
But what about from your workstations, benches and machinery?
Good signs can be seen by everyone who needs to see them. In the workplace, that means that everyone who’s impacted should be able to see the sign, no matter where they’re standing or working from.
That means going down onto the floor and checking sightlines.
Put yourself in the shoes of one of your team members – when you look up, can you see your signs? Or are they difficult to make out, either due to distance or because something gets in the way from that angle?
If that’s the case, you might want to think of moving your sign to somewhere more visible, or adding a second to cover your blind spots
You might not realise it, but Australian OHS laws are very strict about the sizes of signs.
And there’s a good reason for this: sign size directly impacts your ability to understand it.
Signs feature images and words – if said sign is mounted too far away, how are you supposed to understand either? At a certain point it just becomes a vague, coloured blob.
Unsure about sizing requirements? Our signage experts are here to help – while checking out, shoot us an email with the distances involved, and we’ll tell you what dimensions your signs need to be to be understood at that distance.
Why is it important to know the safety and hazard signs for workplaces that deal with chemicals?
Simple: hazardous chemicals are, well, hazardous!
While each workplace comes with its own risks and dangers, workplaces that store, transport, manufacture or use chemicals are at an especially high risk.
As such, it’s extra important that they have the right workplace safety signs on-site to keep everyone safe.
Have questions? Fortunately, we’re here to answer them…
What are the 4 types of safety signs?
When it comes to workplaces that deal with hazardous chemicals, signage is crucial – you can never be too safe. In particular however, there are 4 main types of signs you’ll want to pay especially close attention to:
- Prohibition signs – signs banning specific actions or substances (including, things that can increase the risk of accidents or chemical reactions)
- Hazchem signs – signs that communicate the attributes of a chemical, and give warnings about the associated dangers
- Mandatory signs – safety signage like protective clothing signs prescribe a specific behaviour that must be done to stay safe
- Emergency information panels – signs that communicate essential information for drivers, emergency services and passers-by
Just to be clear, there’s nothing stopping you from covering your workplace in even more signs. For example, you might order custom safety signs to communicate your unique evacuation procedure.
However, as a general rule these four are the most important, and therefore should be prioritised!
What colours are workplace safety signs?
As we mentioned before, Australian regulations are strict about what your signs look like. In addition to regulating pictographs and sizes, they also mandate what colours they need to be!
Depending on the type of sign, the colours will change:
- Red for Danger safety sign
- Yellow for Caution safety sign
- Orange for Warning safety sign
And when it comes to chemicals, each hazchem class has a specific colour attached to it.
Don’t worry, our online sign shop stocks a huge range of different premade signs, all of which comply with Australian and international standards.
What font is used on danger signs?
Australian regulations are strict when it comes to how your signs look – and that includes the font used as well.
Don’t worry, they don’t prescribe a specific font like Times New Roman or anything like that – as long as the text is easy to read and understand, you’ll get a pass.
Dangerous signs must use “ALL CAPS” fonts in an easy-to-read font – sans-serif fonts like Arial Bold, Helvetica or Verdana are the ideal choice for these applications.
Keep your safety signs visible and compliant with Signsmart!
Our online sign shop doesn’t only stock a huge range of signs – we’ve also spent years and years supplying workplaces with workplace safety signs, from general warehouse signs to signs designed to protect your team against chemicals.
Not only does this mean that we can supply the signs – it also means that we’ve got a good amount of experience about what your workplace needs to do on the signage front to stay compliant.
Whether it’s font, sizing, materials or any other signage question, our team of experts can help you:
- Protect your team, property and visitors
- Prevent accidents from happening
- Avoid a fine or other penalty for non-compliance