The objective of BS5499-1 is to improve the technical presentation of safety signs.
Where they are used, how they are used and the clarity of design and layout.
The new directive recommends the use of upper and lower case lettering for increased legibility, particularly in consideration of visually impaired viewers. All organisations are required to use safety signs where there is a risk to health and safety that has not been completely avoided by other measures required by law.
(All our signs comply with this new technical standard!)
The Health & Safety (Safety signs & signals) Regulations 1996. This directive is designed to standardise safety signs in order to reduce the risk of misunderstanding arising from differences across the EEC.
(All our signs comply with this act!)
The regulations require that safety signs are fitted and maintained in circumstances where risks to health and safety have not been fully avoided by other means, for example engineering controls or safe working systems.
The regulations make it clear that safety signs are not a substitute for other means of controlling risk to employees or the public. The purpose of safety signs is to warn of any residual risk and to instruct employees and members of the public of the measures they must take in relation to the risk to which they refer.
There may be a risk of flammable substances catching fire. In addition to the normal precautions taken, and the provision of a Flammable substances’ warning sign, an additional ‘No Smoking’ prohibition sign may be required. There may be a risk of eye injury when operating a particular machine. Whilst the necessary guards are used, it may be necessary to instruct staff to wear eye protection. The regulations do not require the use of safety signs where there are no risks to health and safety. However Fire Safety signs may be specified under quite different legal provisions, for example to comply with the requirements of a Fire Certificate.
The signs used need to be sufficiently large and clear so that they can be easily seen and understood. In conditions of poor light it may be necessary either to use illuminated signs or photo-luminescent signs. The signs must be of durable material and securely fixed and also maintained properly. Take care to avoid however, displaying too many signs in close proximity. The signs are only effective if they are clearly seen and understood. If too many signs are placed together there is a danger that important information may be overlooked.
If circumstances change and a particular hazard no longer exists, making a sign unnecessary, make sure it is removed immediately so that misleading information is not displayed. Temporary safety signs still need to be consistent with regulations. For example: cleaners may use a portable, ‘Slippery floor’ hazard sign to warn of the slipping risk for a short period.
Running man/First Aid Cross
Emergency escape or First Aid sign: A sign showing the location of or directing to emergency exits, first aid or rescue facilities. (eg. Fire Exit)
Blue circle with icon
Mandatory sign: A sign prescribing behaviour (eg. Eye protection must be worn)
Red circle with slash with icon
Prohibition sign: A sign prohibiting behaviour likely to increase or cause danger or inconvenience. (eg. No Smoking)
Yellow triangle with icon
Hazard Warning sign: A sign giving warning of a hazard or danger (eg. Danger High Voltage)