Safety signs in Australia come in many shapes and sizes, with all sorts of different meanings, designs and more.
What makes it worse is that many of these signs overlap – as if figuring out your signage requirements wasn’t hard enough already!
Two of the most common (and easiest to mix up) types? Hazchem signs and danger signs.
While both serve the same purpose – that is, to warn people of a risk to their health – where these two different types of sign differ is in the details…
Hazchem signs and danger signs…
… warn against different risks
We’ve written before about the difference between “dangerous” and “hazardous”. If you missed that piece, click here to get caught up.
If you don’t have time to go over that however, here’s a quick recap.
Essentially, danger signs warn against risks that pose an immediate injury or harm.
Long story short: use these signs for things that will kill someone!
For example, high voltages can cause immediate harm – by contrast, the effects of asbestos inhalation can literally take decades to manifest.
Electric shock is only one of the things danger signs cover – they can also be used for sorts of risks including demolition work, forklifts, maiming hazards, unexpected drops and more.
By contrast, hazchem signs are used specifically when hazardous chemicals are involved. It’s in the name, after all – “haz” and “chem!”
- Other hazardous substances
Granted, there is some overlap here – certain chemicals such as acids also fall into the “dangerous” category.
In cases such as these, we advise using both types of signs in conjunction with each other!
… convey different information
The types of things they warn against isn’t the only way these two different types of sign differ – they also convey different information!
Danger signs are relatively straightforward – you have:
- A banner, with the word “danger” set against a red background
- The specific danger written in large, plain-English text
By contrast, hazchem signs and emergency information panels convey a lot more specific information, including:
- The name of the substance
- Its hazchem class
- Its UN number
- Its hazchem code
- Contact numbers for specialist advice
Using this information, you won’t just know that the chemical is dangerous – you’ll also know how volatile it is, its flammability, the best method to put out a fire, how to clean up spills and what level of PPE you’ll need, just to name a few!
… are hung in different places
So far, we’ve only been talking about workplaces that have to deal with chemicals or dangers.
But what if you’re a courier or truck driver, and you’re carrying a shipment of hazardous cargo?
Obviously, you’ll still want to take measures to protect yourself and the public. Specifically, you’ll be thinking of things like spill kits, fire extinguishers, and of course, signs.
Here’s something you may not have known about hazchem signs: they can be hung on vehicles in addition to storage areas!
Hazchem signs and emergency information panels can be created for transport applications, with extra information that can help emergency services respond to an accident.
Just look at any petrol truck, and you’ll see:
- Hazchem diamonds on the front and back
- Emergency information panels on the sides
- Dangerous goods labels on the containers themselves
By contrast, danger signs are almost always employed at workplaces, or fixed locations.
… are both required for a safe workplace!
While we’ve been focusing on the differences between these two types of sign, the truth is that they’re both crucial if you want to build a safe and compliant workplace.
No one sign is going to cover all of your bases.
And as many workplaces contain all sorts of different risks and dangers, you’re going to need different types of signs to cover all of your bases!
In many cases, that can mean using hazchem and danger goods signs and labels together.
Unsure about your legal requirements when it comes to dangerous or hazardous substances? Our team can help!
As experts in hazchem transport (and more importantly, hazchem signage), our team can help you determine your signage requirements.
We’ll tell you upfront what emergency safety signs you need, as well as where they should be located, how large they should be and more!
Your one-stop-shop for safety signs Australia-wide
If you want to keep your workplace safe, all the signs point to Signsmart!
What makes us stand out from the crowd?
- Huge range of signs for all sorts of dangers and hazards
- Large inventory of premade signs and express shipping cuts waiting time
- Industry-leading turnaround – we can get signs to you by the next day!
- Custom signs, for all of your unique workplace concerns