Size matters when it comes to safety signs!
Australian laws are quite strict when it comes to the signs you use at your workplace. As you know, they dictate what:
- Signs you need in the first place
- Pictograms and images are required
- Colours your signs need to be
One thing you might not have realised is that they also dictate size as well.
This is one part of the equation that a lot of business owners forget about when they go shopping for workplace safety signs in Australia – one that can occasionally land them in hot water.
But why is that? Why would they explicitly mention size in workplace safety laws?
What is a good size for a sign? How big your signs need to be
You can’t just get away with choosing any size sign to hang up in your workplace – they need to be a certain size if you’re to meet your legal obligations.
It might sound excessive, but there are very good reasons why these mandatory sizes are in place.
The main one being that it helps ensure that your sign can actually be understood!
Think about where your signs are going to be hung up. Now think about where your workers are going to be standing relative to those signs. Can your team actually read and understand the sign from where they’re standing?
If you find yourself straining to make things out, it might be best to size up your sign.
Let’s compare two situations: an authorised personnel only sign hung up on the front of a door, and one that’s hung up inside a warehouse at the end of a long row of shelving.
In the first case, you can get away with a smaller sign, as anyone approaching the restricted area will have to come close to the door, whereas in the second situation, a larger sign might be needed to compensate for distance.
Australian standard AS1319 sets out minimum sizes for each type of sign for certain distances. For example, a danger sign needs to be 300x225mm to be understood at 12 metres – add another 6 metres, and you’ll need to size up to 450x300mm to still be legible.
Not just size – what else does AS1319 require?
In addition to the size of the sign itself, AS1319 also mandates what size the pictograms on your signs need to be.
As a general rule, pictograms need to add a minimum of 15mm per metre of distance in order for pictograms to be clearly understood.
It isn’t just the pictograms that need to size up the further away you get from the sign – you’ll also need to think about the font size too.
As a general rule of thumb:
- 5mm per metre of distance for upper-case font
- 4mm per metre of distance for lower-case font
Do workers at your workplace enjoy perfect conditions, where there’s good lighting? Or is your workplace on the dimmer side, with dust affecting visibility?
If you fall into the second category, you’ll need to compensate for more difficult conditions with larger safety signs.
Different signs depending on if staff are on foot or in vehicles
Yep, you heard us right!
If your staff operate vehicles like forklifts or skiffs, they’re going to constantly be on the move. As such, they won’t be able to see small pictograms or text anywhere near as clearly.
To compensate, you’ll need to hang larger signs up in areas where there’s high vehicle traffic.
“What are prevention safety signs? Does sign colour matter?” Signage 101: your safety sign FAQs answered
What are the 4 types of safety signs?
There are countless different types of safety signs that every workplace needs. While you might not require the hazchem signs that we specialise in, there’s no excuse to not have these signs on-site!
- Mandatory signs: signs that tell staff what they need to do or wear to stay safe
- Fire safety signs: fire escape sign, fire extinguisher signs and more
- Danger and warning signs: warn against workplace hazards
- Prohibition signs: signs that inform staff of what’s not on at your workplace
No matter what it is you do, these types of signs are either legal requirements regardless of what you do, or simply common sense. As such, you’re going to need to add these particular signs to your shopping cart.
What are the 9 hazard symbols?
While our online sign shop provides a wide range of signs, we specialise in hazchem signs specifically – that’s probably why you’re here.
Of course, when it comes to hazchem signs, it’s crucial that you buy the right type of hazchem sign. And that means you’ll need to understand the different hazchem classes:
- Explosives, including fireworks, ammunition and detonators. These are explosive articles and explosive substances
- Gases – pertains to hazardous materials that are liquefied, compressed and refrigerated, including aerosols and gas solutions; includes flammable and non-flammable gases as well as toxic gases like coal and chlorine
- Flammable liquids, referring to liquids with a flashpoint of 60 degrees or less and a boiling point of 35 degrees like petrol and alcohol
- Flammable solids – substances that are prone to combustion and are flammable when it comes in contact with gases
- Oxidising substances like organic peroxide, which while not flammable themselves, can contribute greatly to fire conditions
- Toxic and infectious substances like poison and pesticides that if inhaled, swallowed or absorbed
- Radioactive materials including any substances that emit radiation, which can potentially cause serious long-term risks to human health
- Toxic material – corrosives and acids that can cause severe injuries if they come into contact with skin
Understanding which class of hazardous goods you’re dealing with (as well as the relevant sub-class) is crucial when purchasing hazchem signs.
What Colour is a warning safety sign? Signage colours, explained
It isn’t just the pictogram or lettering that Australian standards are very particular about – they also set out what colours your signs are allowed to be.
Different types of signs are legally required to be certain colours:
- Red – Danger, Fire protection, Emergency stops and alarms
- Orange – Risks of injuries
- Yellow – Caution
- Green – First Aid, Safety equipment
- Blue – Mandatory signs
These colours are set in stone, so if you need to put up signs mandating certain PPE, it needs to be blue.
What are prevention safety signs?
A surprising number of people ask this question!
Simply put, they’re signs all about preventing an accident from occurring in the first place. In short, the vast majority of workplace safety signs fall under this category, whether they’re chemical safety signs or signs telling people to keep clear at all times.
Of course, these signs can only prevent accidents if people can see them in the first place (which is why sizing – the topic of today’s article – is so important to begin with!)
Size matters – however, that isn’t all when it comes to signage
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: when it comes to workplace hazard signs, it’s crucial that you know what signs you need.
And that means understanding your signage requirements.
Sizing is a key part of the equation – however, you’ll also need to have a strong understanding of some of the other legal requirements your signs need to adhere to, including:
- Locations and placement
It’s a lot to take in, so we understand if you sometimes feel like just giving up altogether.
Luckily, that’s something that we can help you out with.
Our team doesn’t just supply the signs – in many cases, we can help you understand your legal requirements, especially if it involves hazchem signs.
Of course, it isn’t just hazchem signs. In addition to “standard” signs, we also produce custom site safety signs, with the choice of templates ro complete clean-sheet designs tailored for your needs.