How Safety Signs Can Save Your Life

19th of February 2010 0

How Safety Signs Can Save Your Life

Emergency / Fire Exit signage.

All public buildings and places of work are required to display safety signs and for very good reason. Imagine being in an unfamiliar building when the fire alarms go off! Without directional fire exit signs the situation could be very dangerous indeed. Even the smallest office or factory, the smallest shop etc., must display these signs. In these cases the solutions are usually very simple, but in the case of large office blocks, vast factory buildings or places of public entertainment the planning that goes into the display of these signs is crucial. Large companies will generally have a health and safety officer who is responsible for all health and safety signage. Signage suppliers such as Directa UK will usually offer a site survey service where an expert in the field is able to advise on the positioning of these signs. The Fire Brigade are often able to advise in complicated scenarios.

Fire exit signage is available in various formats. The standard signs are for use in very small premises, or for larger premises where there is constant emergency power back up. Then there is photoluminous signage which will glow in the dark long after any power failure, and finally there is illuminated signage which should have battery pack back up in case of power failure. So when the alarms go off in even the most unfamiliar building you should be able to simply follow the signs to safety.

Mandatory signage

These signs tell us what action we must take. It is the responsibility of every employer to tell staff about all hazards and what they should do to negate the danger. This information must be reiterated in the shape of signage. The most common requirements are for hard hats, safety footwear, goggles and gloves. To ignore these signs is risking serious injury, and in the case of hard hats, even death.

Warning signs

These signs warn us about any potential hazard which may be present. It is compulsory to display them and foolish to ignore them. When warning signs are displayed it is up to the individual to take the appropriate action. It is fairly obvious to state that ignoring signs such as “Warning 1200V” could have fatal consequences.

Prohibition signs

These signs tell us what we are NOT allowed to do and where we are NOT allowed to go. For example, “No access to unauthorized personnel” means that there may be potential hazards within an area which only trained personnel are familiar with. To ignore these may mean venturing into very dangerous areas such as chemical stores or areas of unmanned machinery. For trained personnel issued with the correct equipment, these areas are relatively safe but for the untrained, venturing into these area is potentially life threatening.


Safety signs are meant to be displayed for a reason. It is the responsibility of the establishment to display them, and it is our responsibility to heed them. Failure to do so by either party could have potentially catastrophic consequences.

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