Have you ever noticed that no matter the workplace, the safety signs are almost uniformly the same?
There’s a very good reason for that: AS 1319:1994.
This standard regulates all sorts of workplace safety signs throughout Australia. From dangerous goods signs, to emergency information panels (EIPs), to simple line markers, this standard mandates:
- What each type of sign looks like
- The colours used
- Formatting and layout
- Minimum sign size
- ISO-approved iconography and graphics
It’s thanks to this standard that safety signs are uniform across Aussie workplaces, allowing you to immediately understand what they’re warning against no matter where you are.
Today, we’ll be going over the most common types of safety signs and their meanings, as well as the symbols and designs found on each.
The most commonly used safety signs and their meanings
Like the name suggests, these signs warn of a hazard or condition that has the potential to be life-threatening. Unlike hazardous goods, dangerous goods and situations have the potential to be immediately fatal.
As such, the signs responsible for identifying these dangers need to be bold and attention-grabbing.
AS 1319:1994 mandates that these signs use a white background, with the word danger in white capital letters.
This lettering is printed on a red oval over a black strip for maximum visibility. Underneath is large, bold text identifying the danger.
Not all workplace conditions are likely to be life-threatening. For these conditions, you need caution signs.
Using an attention-grabbing yellow background, these signs are difficult to miss!
Along the top will be a black strip with the word “caution” in yellow text. Underneath that, will be a graphic representing the condition, be it wet paint, a door or ea slippery surface. This hazard symbol will be placed in a black triangle.
Finally, supporting the icon will be black text underneath identifying the hazard, just in case.
Fire safety signs
When it comes to grabbing one’s attention, red is the most powerful colour out there, immediately evoking feelings of danger.
So is it any wonder that it’s the mandatory colour not just for firefighting equipment, but also fire safety signs?
Intended to help identify and locate vital firefighting equipment and alarms, these signs use white symbols and text on a white background.
If red is the colour of danger, then green is the polar opposite. Green is the colour of safety, which is why it’s used in safety signs.
Safety signs indicate the nearest location of, or directions to, emergency-related facilities. We’re talking about:
- First-aid kits
- Safety equipment
- Evacuation areas
Just like fire safety signs, safety signs use white-coloured icons, with white lettering underneath. Only, instead of red used as the basis, it’s a soothing green instead.
Emergency information panels (EIPs)
EIPs play an important role in workplaces that handle dangerous or hazardous goods such as chemicals. These humble panels cram a lot of information into a small space, which can be vital in the event of an accident or spill.
These signs use a white background, and are broken up into a grid. Moving counter-clockwise, these signs need to include:
- Class diamond (top right)
- Name of the substance (top left)
- The chemical’s UN number (left)
- Hazchem class (left)
- Emergency contact (bottom left)
- Specialist advice (bottom right)
It’s important to note that the last two are only mandatory for EIPs in the transport industry. Storage locations can omit these (assuming that this information is present elsewhere – preferably with its own sign!)
So you have mandatory PPE and safety equipment, or specific instructions that MUST be carried out.
To communicate that, you’ll need mandatory signs.
AS 1319:1994 dictates that these signs should use a white background, with a medium blue (think sapphire) circle featuring an easy-to-understand graphic depicting the relevant piece of equipment, such as helmets or steel-capped boots. This graphic must also be in white.
Underneath in bold black lettering should be specific instructions outlining the mandatory action.
Get smarter workplace safety signs from Signsmart
So now you know what Australian standards say regarding workplace safety signs.
Of course, that isn’t much help if you don’t know where to shop safety signs to begin with!
That’s where Signsmart comes in.
Our online store ensures that your workplace is never without the appropriate signage.
Not only do all of our signs adhere to Australian standards, but we’ll also help you figure out what your obligations are when it comes to safety signage. Our team research the requirements for obscure hazards and signs, creating custom signage that keeps your workplace safe.
We’ll also work hard to ensure that you get your signs quickly – in some cases, we can get them to you by the next day!
Ordering custom workplace safety signs from us is simple:
- Let us know what you want
- We’ll provide you with a quote
- We will create your custom signage
- We ship it to you
If you want to discuss your options further or get advice from our experts as to the kinds of signs you might need, feel free to give our team a call on (03) 9687 3050, or click here to start shopping safety signs.