Safety signs and symbols are important safety communication tools. They help to indicate various hazards that present in plant site or workplace. At the same time, they warn workers to always keep watching on those hazards by giving required information and safety instructions.
They do not only inform the presence of hazards but also keep workers’ safety awareness. It is very important in reducing accidents at the workplace and in chemical plants.
To get the most out of health and safety signs and symbols, you should choose the right one for each work location on the plant site. Each work area needs different workplace health and safety signs and symbols. It is because each work area has a different type of hazard.
Safety Signs and Symbols Standards
Safety symbols and signs consist of messages, words, and pictorial symbols with a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. All the shapes and colors are standardized. Each shape has a different meaning and each color reflects a specific meaning.
Using the standardized health and safety signs and symbols will make them understandable and overcome language barriers.
The shapes of workplace health and safety signs are triangles, circles and squares or rectangles.
a. Triangles: indicates caution (potential hazards) or warning (definite hazards), for example, toxic gas and electric shock.
b. Circles: reflects mandatory or recommended actions are normally used to depict mandatory or recommended actions, for example wearing eye goggles and safety hard hats.
c. Squares or rectangles: show information, i.e. general information and emergency information (first aid, fire fighting).
d. Circle with a 45° diagonal slash across the middle from the upper left to the lower right: point out forbidden or prohibited actions.
The colors used in workplace safety signs and symbols are red, yellow, blue and green.
a. Red signs: designates emergency devices like fire fighting equipment, or to emphasize unsafe or forbidden actions.
b. Yellow: notifies workers to take caution and be alerted of hazards, reducing necessary risks.
c. Blue: shows a particular action or behavior, for example instruction to wear personal protective equipment.
d. Green: designates the location of emergency measures like first aid kits, evacuation routes, fire exits, escape ladders or assembling points.
To learn more in detail about workplace safety signs and symbols, you can refer to ANSI standard Z535.4 2007.