Since 1996 and the introduction of The Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations, safety signs in the UK workplace have been standardised. The use of a common set of colours and shapes makes it easy for the viewer to understand their meaning so they can take appropriate action. The most common signs are red, yellow, blue and green – get to know their meanings and they’ll keep you safe wherever you work.

Red for no

When you see a circular sign with a thick red edge and a diagonal line through a picture of a cigarette, you understand immediately that it means no smoking. Red health and safety signs are designed to prohibit you from doing something that might be dangerous, delivering their warning in a universal language of symbols with the word ‘No…’

Yellow for hazards

These triangular signs are common when there are hazards like toxic chemicals or high voltage electricity in the area. Just like an amber traffic light, a yellow sign warns you to proceed with caution. These signs have a thick black edge and a clear warning in black text with a black pictogram. Black on yellow is high contrast and highly visible, sending out a clear and easily understood message at a glance.

Must do blue

Circular blue signs carry information and pictograms in white for maximum visibility and contrast to get the message across quickly. These mandatory signs alert you to behaviour that must be carried out like wearing safety glasses or keeping a fire door shut. These types of PPE signs are common on building sites when ear defenders and hard hats must be worn.

Green for safety

Rectangular green signs with white text and pictograms are designed to deliver strong safety messages. If you need to know where the first aid box is or to find the fire exit, you’ll need to locate the relevant green sign for more information.

Whether you need green assembly points or blue construction signs, all employers have the responsibility of making sure that health and safety signs are clearly understood, especially by younger employees. They must be properly displayed and maintained so they can convey their important message in just a few vital seconds.

John E Wright

At John E Wright we use an increasingly diverse variety of substrates including aluminium, dibond, correx, foamex, vinyl, MDF and acrylic to find your perfect solution. Our installation team have full H&S training and CSCS cards as well as IPAF, PASMA & UKATA certification.

Get in touch and tell us about your signage requirements.