Skip to content

How to Use and Display Workplace Safety Signs Properly

an image of three workplace safety signs

Businesses encounter several risks on a daily basis. Employers must maintain a safe workplace and alert staff members to potential dangers by posting signs, labels, colour codes, or posters.

In this article, we will look at workplace safety signs, their purpose, and how to use and display them at work. We will also briefly review the laws governing them and the responsibilities of employers and employees.

What are Workplace Safety Signs?

Workplace safety signs are efficient and easily understood means of alerting workers to items, actions, or circumstances that carry a specific risk or to hazards that continue to exist despite precautions you have made.

Safety signs denote the type of risk or safety alert and the intensity of the risk in a simple, easily understandable and identifiable manner to mitigate risks in the workplace.

What is The Purpose of Safety Signs?

“There is a need to standardize a system of giving safety information that relies as little as possible on the use of words to achieve understanding,” states the ISO standard ISO 3864-1:2011 on safety colours and signs.

As instruments for safety communication, safety signs and symbols help convey instructions, cautions, and clear statements without using excessive words. 

They quicken people’s learning and become particularly helpful in situations requiring prompt action.

Safety signs and symbols lower the possibility of injuries and raise awareness of hazards in particular locations or materials through visual aids.

Importance of Safety Signs in the Workplace

More than just discussing safety signs in a general sense, let us tie them to the office environment.

There are several important reasons for having safety signs in the workplace, including but not limited to:

1. Safety and Prevention of Accidents

Safety signs, foremost, lower the risk of workplace accidents and injuries. It has been proven many times without numbers. 

In the US, there are over 2.8 million non-fatal industrial accidents or injuries annually. By reinforcing appropriate safety signs, many of these situations can be avoided. 

Workers and employees are more aware of potential risks at work and can react appropriately and quickly when an incident arises, which helps prevent injuries like electrocution, falls, and slips and trips.

2. Law Compliance

Safety signs assist in guaranteeing adherence to OSHA regulations and standards. Companies that disregard the legal requirements for safety signage may be subject to fines. 

When work is being done in places considered high-risk, OSHA 1926.200(a) mandates that appropriate notice be displayed at all times.

In Nigeria, a similar legislation/program exists in the form of Occupational Safety and Health (OSH). Several other legislations apply to each industry. It is of utmost importance that you comply to prevent not only accidents to employees but also fines and compliance issues with the government.

3. Visitors’ and Employees’ Education

Safety signs are a useful teaching tool, particularly in engineering or manufacturing settings where potential hazards are common. 

Making sure staff members are led effectively during a crisis is essential. Additionally, signs are a common way for new hires to learn about business safety procedures, so they must be clear and convey the necessary information.

Common Work Place Safety Signs

Maintaining a safe workplace requires the use of safety indicators. They provide visual cues to workers and visitors about possible workplace risks and the safety measures that must be followed to prevent accidents or injuries.

The top seven (7) signs that businesses need to have have been covered in this section.

1. Exit Signs

A safety sign known as an exit sign shows where an escape route or exit from a building is in case of an emergency.

an exit sign in the workplace

An exit sign’s primary function is to assist people in leaving a building swiftly and safely in the case of an emergency, such as a fire or earthquake.

Exit signs are available in sizes, forms, and colours; nevertheless, the word “EXIT” is usually written in large, contrasting characters on a rectangular background.

A direction arrow for the exit is also a feature of certain exit signs. The letters and arrowheads on the sign are usually white or a contrasting colour, while the sign itself is typically green or red.

Apart from the conventional exit signs, illuminated exit signs exist that function through an electrical connection or a battery backup to offer extra visibility during a power loss.

These indicators are especially crucial in large buildings where emergency visibility may be compromised.

It is essential to remember that exit signs ought to be positioned in obvious and conspicuous areas of a structure, including doors, stairways, and hallways.

This makes it possible for people to find an exit swiftly and with ease in an emergency.

To guarantee that exit signs remain visible and operate as intended, they should also undergo routine maintenance and inspections by facility managers.

2. Slips and Falls Safety Symbols

a slip and fall workplace safety sign
Source: Pinterest

One kind of workplace hazard safety sign that warns workers and visitors about the possible risks of slipping, tripping, or falling in a particular area is the “Slips and Falls” sign.

These warning signs are typically placed in locations with a greater danger of falls due to cluttered, uneven, or sloppy flooring.

Some of the most frequent causes of workplace accidents are trips and falls, leading to severe injuries like sprains, broken bones, and head trauma. Recognising and eliminating the hazards that lead to these incidents is critical to prevent them.

Usually, a warning message is displayed alongside a symbol or picture of a person tripping, falling, or slipping.

The notice can encourage staff members and guests to watch their steps, exercise additional caution, and avoid distractions like using their phones while strolling.

In addition, the sign might advise what to do in the event of a fall, like reporting it immediately to a manager.

“Slips and Falls” signs come in various forms that can be utilised in the workplace to warn workers and visitors of potential dangers:

a. The Caution Wet Floor Sign

Source: Pinterest

This is intended for use in locations where there is a possibility of spills, leaks, or recently washed floors. 

It warns people to walk with additional caution to prevent sliding.

b. The Watch Your Step Sign

A watch your step sign
Source: Pinterest

It is placed in areas with irregular floor surfaces, like those close to steps, ramps, or thresholds. 

It serves as a reminder to observe where they walk to prevent trips and falls.

c. No Running Sign

a no running sign

This sign is used when running is prohibited, like those near stairs or busy areas.

It serves as a reminder for individuals to walk slowly to prevent falls.

d. The Keep Aisle Clear Sign

A keep the aisle clear sign

This is used in places where aisles or walkways are clogged or blocked, including next to machinery or storage shelves. 

It serves as a reminder to keep the aisle free to prevent trips and falls.

e. Floor in Progress Sign

It is displayed in areas where floor cleaning takes place, like next to a mop bucket or floor buffer. It warns people not to go near the area if they stumble on a damp floor.

These are a few instances of “Slips, Trips, and Falls” signs that are appropriate for use at work. 

The particular indicators that are utilised will vary depending on the particular hazards that are present at work.

3. Authorized Personnel Only Warning Signs

An authorised personnel only  workplace safety sign
Source: Pinterest

The “Authorized Personnel Only” sign is a crucial safety and security safeguard in many organisations.

It is employed to limit access to particular spaces or rooms that hold private data, dangerous goods, or machinery that might endanger workers or the workplace.

This sign aims to restrict access to these locations and keep out unauthorised people who might hurt or destroy things.

The workplace can ensure that only people competent and trained to handle the items or equipment in the restricted area are permitted entry by limiting access to authorised staff.

The writing on the sign, which usually reads “Authorized Personnel Only,” is bold and obvious and is positioned at the entry point to the restricted area.

It might also contain further details like the kind of hazard that exists or the requirements that must be met for employees to enter.

A warning triangle or other image may be included on the sign to emphasise the statement and highlight the limitation.

It is crucial to remember that the “Authorized Personnel Only” sign does not replace appropriate training, safety protocols, or other safeguards that need to be put in place to guarantee the security and safety of the workplace.

Instead, it is a single facet of an all-encompassing safety and security program that safeguards people and the working environment.

4. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Signs

A PPE sign
Source: Facebook

Employees can protect themselves from possible risks and dangers in the workplace by adopting Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE.

The PPE sign marks spots that call for personal protective equipment.

This sign is usually put up in places where there is a chance of bodily harm, like places where chemicals are present, loud environments, or other dangerous situations.

A symbol or pictogram representing a person wearing safety glasses, earplugs, or a hard helmet is usually included on PPE signs.

Text describing the protective gear needed for a given hazard may be included on the sign.

The sign can be put up on machinery or equipment, at the entrance to an area, or anywhere else where employees are likely to come into contact with dangers.

Utilising PPE is only a tiny portion of an extensive safety program. Safe work practices, routine maintenance and inspection of equipment, and training and education should be noted.

5. First Aid Safety Signs

First aid box sign
Source: Logodix

A first aid sign is a safety sign that shows where a first aid station or kit is located in a workspace.

First Aid Station or First Aid displays the words “FIRST AID” and a white cross on a green background.

A first aid sign’s main function is to point staff members or visitors to the right spot in a medical emergency for timely and effective assistance.

First aid signs are hung on walls, doors, or hallways in conspicuous places near the first aid station or kit.

Additionally, they could be positioned close to dangerous or high-risk locations where accidents are most likely to happen.

First aid stations and kits should be marked so staff members and visitors can locate them quickly in an emergency.

The security and health of workers and visitors in a workplace depend significantly on the presence of a marked and accessible first aid station.

6. Electrical Safety Signs

Electrical safety signs warn people about possible electrical hazards in the workplace. 

These risks may include exposed electrical lines, high-voltage machinery, or other electrical energy sources that, if not handled carefully, could result in harm or even death.

Many electrical safety signs have a yellow backdrop with a black emblem or text that makes the hazard obvious.

People would be alerted to electrical equipment or lines that could cause electric shock or electrocution by signs that say, “Hazard: High Voltage” or “Warning: Electrified Equipment.”

In addition to warning signs, electrical safety signs can also be used to identify the locations of electrical panels, electrical shut-off switches, and other crucial electrical equipment.

This can be especially helpful in an emergency since it makes it easier for workers to find the necessary tools to turn off the electricity properly.

Remembering that an entire electrical safety program comprises more than just electrical safety signs is crucial.

Employers should ensure that employees receive electrical safety training and instruction, employ an energy management service, and conduct routine maintenance and inspections to guarantee that electrical equipment is safe and operating well.

7. Muster or Assembly Point Signs

Source: Floormac

The safety sign shows where staff members are supposed to assemble in an emergency, like a fire or natural disaster.

The sign points staff members to the approved gathering space and is prominently displayed. Its words and symbols are simple to read and understand.

The Assembly Point Sign’s objectives are to guarantee that every employee may leave the building safely, assemble in a designated area where they can be checked, and wait for more instructions from emergency personnel or designated personnel.

By reducing misunderstanding, guaranteeing a prompt and orderly evacuation, and giving clear and simple instructions on where to go in an emergency, this sign helps to secure the safety of all personnel.

Generally speaking, the muster or assembly point sign should be positioned where all staff members can see and use it, including common spaces or areas close to exits. For the sign to be seen in low light, it should also be lighted.

The designated assembly point should also be routinely reviewed and updated to ensure it remains a secure and useful place for staff members to meet in an emergency.

How to Display Safety and Information Signs

Safety signs and other safety posters should be set in a way that will most effectively communicate the information they are intended to convey; this means that the process of placing them should be viewed as more than just a bureaucratic necessity.

The following general guidelines are important to remember:

  • Signs must not be hidden; they must be positioned in a prominent area, preferably at eye level. The prominent display of safety signs ought to be a primary concern while placing additional items or machinery in the vicinity.
  • Signs should stand out from the surroundings by being big, readable, colourful, and striking.
  • Safety signs should be installed permanently unless the hazard is transient, like during a repair project. This implies that they must be made to be both robust and firmly secured.
  • For signs to continue serving their intended purpose, they must be adequately maintained. Signs that become harmed or faded over time must be replaced.
  • Refrain from crowding safety signs too closely together, as this will reduce their visual effect and make it more challenging to get the most important information over to staff members.
  • When it comes to fire safety, exit signs, in particular, illuminated electronic safety signs may be required in some circumstances to attract more attention or be visible even at night. To ensure that they continue to work in the event of a power outage, these require additional testing and maintenance, such as using glow-in-the-dark materials or emergency lighting.
  • Signs ought to have all the information necessary to support workers in making safe decisions while at work. Multilingual signage will be necessary at a workplace where employees speak languages other than English.
  • Ensure that employees are not given false information; the accompanying safety signs must be taken down whenever working procedures change, and a previous hazard is removed.
  • For workplace safety signs to be effective, employees must receive training on the symbols and meanings of safety signs. Perform routine training in your workplace to educate employees.

Your workplace can maximise the benefits of its safety signs by complying with these recommendations and ensuring that employees have received adequate training on the significance of paying attention to safety notices. 

This will benefit employers and employees by lowering the chance of accidents, promoting employee wellbeing, and consequently assisting your business in operating at peak efficiency.

Safety Signs Regulations For a Better Workplace

Law in Nigeria

The 1999 amended Constitution of Nigeria states that “the State shall direct its policy towards ensuring that the health, safety, and welfare of all persons in employment is safeguarded and not endangered or abused.”

The National Industrial Court of Nigeria Act and the OSH Policy justify this provision.

All programs and actions aimed at achieving and preserving the greatest health and safety standard for every employee in every kind of work are collectively referred to as Occupational Safety and Health (OSH). 

This pertains to safeguarding workers’ health from potential risks encountered in their workplace.

Concerns have long been raised about the human, social, and financial consequences of industrial accidents, diseases contracted on the job, and significant industrial disasters at all levels of society—from individual business to national and international scales.

Law in the United States of America

The use of safety signs is mandated by ANSI Z535 and OSHA §1910.14 Specifications for Accident Prevention Safety Signs to identify specific risks that could, in the absence of identification, result in property damage or accidental injuries to workers and the public in the United States.

The same guidelines that apply to safety signs should also apply to OSHA-compliant safety labels. They have to, for instance, utilise the same colours as signs.

Design variations can be confusing and increase the amount of time needed to read and comprehend the label.

Critical information is communicated more rapidly when labels and signs are designed consistently when colours are used, when safety symbols are used, and when the header is readable.

Who is Responsible For Safety in The Workplace?

Knowing who is in charge of workplace health and safety, as well as what steps you may take to protect the health and safety of your workers, contractors, and other parties who can be impacted by your operations, is crucial for employers.

Most workplace health and safety duties rest with employers, yet only some people have complete accountability.

Typically, several parties are involved in ensuring health and safety at work, including employers, employees, managers, business owners, and others (such as those who maintain workplace facilities). However, in each country, responsibilities might differ.

Roles of Employees

To maintain a safe workplace, workers need to:

1. Observe Health and Safety Guidelines

Each staff member must abide by all health and safety guidelines and training. This is to make sure they work safely and look out for anyone who might be impacted by what they do.

Any equipment given for health and safety, such as fire extinguishers and fire alarms, must always be used by workers.

2. Take Instructions on Health and Safety

Employees must participate in all health and safety training to keep themselves and their co-workers safe.

3. Follow The Safety Protocols

Workers are expected to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and follow safety protocols constantly.

4. Report Any Risks or Inadequacies in The Safety Protocols

An employee should notify senior staff members of anything they believe poses a risk to their health and safety and the health and safety of others.

To appropriately control a hazard, for instance, an employee must notify the relevant manager immediately if they detect malfunctioning or broken personal protective equipment.

Senior staff should be informed by workers if there is a risk and no suitable control measure is in place.

Role Of Facilities Managers For Workplace Safety

Facility management is a primary concern in any workplace, regardless of the industry. Since it helps shield users from risks, effective safety management is crucial to facility management.

Furthermore, facility management decreases the likelihood of criminal prosecution and personal damage claims while enhancing the image and reputation of the companies associated with that facility.

Generally, the facility manager is in charge of safety management. However, a safety manager may be given that responsibility depending on the size and complexity of the structure or buildings.

Facility managers are in a great position to assist a workplace in maintaining safer facilities when they have the proper structure.

Ensuring that everyone in the facility understands and complies with the safety laws is crucial to reaching that goal.

Do You Need Workplace Signs and Facilities Management Company?

Throughout the years, Eliezer Group has become one of the top workplace safety and facility management companies in Lagos, Nigeria, providing various services to a wide range of clients with great feedback.

Eliezer offers workplace management and safety services, including ensuring all warning safety and information signs follow all the rules stated in this article, which comply with Nigerian and international laws, providing security guards, CCTV installation and maintenance, and more. 

Apart from workplace safety, we provide other services to help your facility function properly.

Contact us now for a fantastic experience using the right safety posters and information sign tags. Call +2348144000052 or email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *