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What are the colour codes for different types of safety signs?


Question: What are the colour codes for different types of safety signs in the UK?

Short Answer: In the UK, safety signs are standardised according to specific colour codes to convey different types of information: red for prohibition and fire equipment, yellow or amber for warnings, blue for mandatory actions, and green for safe conditions or emergency egress.


Detailed Answer: Each colour used in safety signs has a specific meaning, which helps ensure that the information is communicated effectively and universally understood. Here’s a detailed explanation of each colour code used in UK safety signs:

  1. Red – Prohibition and Fire Equipment Signs:
    • Prohibition Signs: These signs indicate prohibited actions. They are typically round with a red border and a diagonal line through a black symbol on a white background. Examples include “No Smoking” or “Do Not Enter.”
    • Fire Equipment Signs: Used to indicate the location of fire equipment. These signs are red with white pictographs and text. Examples include “Fire Extinguisher” or “Fire Hose.”
  2. Yellow/Amber – Warning Signs:
    • Warning Signs: Used to warn about potential hazards. They are triangular with a yellow or amber background, featuring a black border and a black symbol. Common examples include “Caution Wet Floor,” “Danger High Voltage,” and “Warning Forklift Trucks.”
  3. Blue – Mandatory Signs:
    • Mandatory Signs: These signs specify an action that must be carried out to maintain safety. They are round with a blue background and a white symbol or text. Examples include “Wear Safety Goggles,” “Wear Protective Clothing,” or “Wash Hands.”
  4. Green – Safe Condition Signs:
    • Safe Condition Signs: Indicate safety, first aid, or escape routes. These signs are rectangular or square with a green background and a white symbol or text. Examples are “Emergency Exit,” “First Aid,” and “Assembly Point.”
  5. Additional Colours:
    • Black and White: Sometimes used for general information signs that do not fall into the above categories. These are typically not emergency-related but provide guidance and general information.

These colour codes are part of the UK and European regulations for safety signs (compliant with BS EN ISO 7010) and are designed to be consistent and easily recognisable, reducing confusion and enhancing the overall safety of workplaces. It’s important for all employees to be familiar with these signs and understand what each colour signifies.


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