Safety Signs and Signals

Safety signs are one of the main means of communicating health and safety information to employees, contractors, service users and members of the public.

Safety signs should be easy to understand and should also be easy to see and read.

Signs and signals could include

  • fire alarms
  • illuminated signs
  • hazard signs on chemicals
  • fire signage/escape routes
  • prohibition notices
  • warning signs
  • hazard signs.

Detailed in the tabs below you will find safety sign information in place within your Board.

National Services Scotland

Safety signs are one of the main means of communicating health and safety information to employees, contractors, service users and members of the public.

Safety signs should be easy to understand and should also be easy to see and read, and signs and signals could include:

 - fire alarms

 - illuminated signs

 - hazard signs on chemicals

 - fire signage/escape routes

 - prohibition notices

 - warning signs

 - hazard signs

Safety signs and signals are required where, despite putting in place all other relevant measures, a significant risk to the health and safety of employees and others remains.

They are also a good way of providing consistent non verbal communication of the

Signs must be clear and legible, and should be used to identify actions that are prohibited (eg no access), safeguards that must be followed (eg ear protection must be worn), warning of a hazard (eg corrosive material) and to direct towards fire exits/equipment or first-aid equipment.

 If you require additional information you can contact the NSS Health & Safety Advisors through HR Connect Contact Us / Health and Safety 

Public Health Scotland

Safety signs are one of the main means of communicating health and safety information to employees, contractors, service users and members of the public.

Safety signs should be easy to understand and should also be easy to see and read, and signs and signals could include:

 - fire alarms

 - illuminated signs

 - hazard signs on chemicals

 - fire signage/escape routes

 - prohibition notices

 - warning signs

 - hazard signs

Safety signs and signals are required where, despite putting in place all other relevant measures, a significant risk to the health and safety of employees and others remains.

They are also a good way of providing consistent non verbal communication of the

Signs must be clear and legible, and should be used to identify actions that are prohibited (eg no access), safeguards that must be followed (eg ear protection must be worn), warning of a hazard (eg corrosive material) and to direct towards fire exits/equipment or first-aid equipment.

 If you require additional information you can contact the NSS Health & Safety Advisors through HR Connect Contact Us / Health and Safety

    • As an employee, what are my responsibilities in terms of safety signs?National Services Scotland, Public Health Scotland

      Everyone must make themselves aware and familiar with the safety signs (fire exits, warning signs) and signals (traffic lights, warning indicators) in their immediate work area or any areas that you go into and any equipment you use.

      If you consider that the existing signs are no longer readable, do not meet the recognized standard, or more signs might be needed, or that signals may not be working, raise this with your line manager

    • As a Line Manager, what are my responsibilities in terms of safety signs?National Services Scotland, Public Health Scotland

      Regular checks of workplaces should be completed to ensure all the identified control measure are in place and continue to be effective.

      This would include safety signs where appropriate

      Some specific types of signage, such as fire and first aid signage are reviewed as part of regular checks by fire wardens and first aiders, however as a line manager familiar with the risk and hazards associated with your work area you must ensure that the appropriate safety signs are displayed and maintained within in your work area.

    • What do the different colours mean on safety signage?National Services Scotland, Public Health Scotland

      Red signs are for prohibition, danger or for alarm. They are round shaped with a black pictogram on a white background and the red edging should be at least 35% of the surface area of the sign.

      Yellow or Amber are warning signs used for caution or for taking precautions. They will be triangular in shape with a black pictogram on a yellow background with black edges. The yellow part should be at least 50% of the area of the sign.

      Blue signs are for instruction or for information, for example, wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). They are a round shape with a white pictogram on a blue background. The blue part of the sign should be at least 50% of the area of the sign.

      Green signs are for emergency escape routes or first aid. They are rectangular in shape with a white pictogram on a green background. The green part of the sign should be at least 50% of the sign.

      Red (fire-fighting signs) give instructions for and the location of firefighting equipment. They are rectangular in shape with a white pictogram on a red background. The red part of the sign should be at least 50% of the sign.

       - Safety signs should be in place to warn of hazards and to prevent dangerous practices. They should also indicate safe exit routes and practices.

       - Road traffic signs must be used when necessary to control traffic within the workplace, such as trucks, vans and forklift trucks. Clear access and exit areas should be in place for both traffic and pedestrians.

       - Specific hazard signs should be in place in dangerous locations where there is a risk of slipping or falling from a height or if there is low headroom.

       - Always ensure employees use standard hand signals when directing vehicles and also when the vehicles are carrying out difficult manoeuvres. It is good practice to use a banksman when carrying out workplace manoeuvers.