How to ensure you have the correct fire safety signage to keep your staff and customers safe


Keeping your workplace safe for everyone that comes through the door is very important. Whether that be staff or visitors, putting up the right fire safety signage is the best option to ensure everybody is aware of how to stay safe.

Keep reading to find out what the different types of safety signage are and what they mean, so you can make an informed decision about which ones are best for your workplace.

What are the different types of fire warning signs?

Although fire warning signs have the same overall job – providing health and safety information – there are many variations and types. Safety signs can be split into four main colour groups – red, blue, yellow and green. Each one of these groups gives a specific type of information.

  • Red prohibition signs: prohibit behaviour that is likely to cause a risk to health or safety. Most of these are circular with a red border, white background and black image warning you what not to do. Others are square with a red background and white images, and these are used to show where fire-fighting equipment can be found and to provide supplementary information.
  • Blue mandatory signs: indicate actions that must be carried out to comply with statutory requirements. Mandatory signs have a blue background and are circular with a pictogram or text in white positioned centrally. There may also be a rectangular box in which all the important information is written in a clear way.
  • Green safe condition signs: contain crucial information on what to do in the event of an emergency and help to keep your workplace safer by detailing vital information such as where first aid kits can be found, who the trained first aid personnel are, and the correct emergency procedures. They appear as a green rectangle or square with the imagery or text in white, positioned centrally.
  • Yellow warning signs: used to make people aware of a nearby danger such as a specific fire risk in a building, or flammable liquid store in a laboratory. They comprise a bright yellow background with a triangular black outline.

Is it a legal requirement to put up fire safety signage?

Signage is an area of fire safety that is more often than not overlooked by employers. However, to be fully legally compliant businesses will be required to install at least two fire safety signs – a Fire Action Notice and Extinguisher ID sign – around their premises, and often many more.

Make sure that any signs you place are compliant with the latest guidance including ISO 7010:2011 for graphical symbols — safety colours and safety signs.

If you require any more guidance, you can take a closer look at the legislation surrounding fire safety including The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and The Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996. Or contact your local fire department for more information.

I know which safety signs I need but where should I put them?

Any visitors, customers or members of staff on your site should always be near signs indicating the nearest emergency exit, alarm and/or extinguisher. This means making sure that changes of direction are clearly presented in a visible location.

Keeping your emergency signs separate from other signs, notices and posters is also a good idea. For example, a crowded noticeboard is a poor location for vital fire safety signs where they can easily fade into the background with all the other information. Try attaching them to walls or doors that are adjacent to alarms or extinguishers instead.

Author Bio

First Mats started life as safety matting specialists, but have since expanded to become a complete industrial and commercial supplies company. The focus of First Mats is to provide safety-focused products that improve the wellbeing of staff through quality approved products, backed up by extensive knowledge.

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