Safety Signs FAQ


  • British Standards
  • Tips for the siting of safety signs
  • UK & EC Legislation
  • The Fire Precautions (Workplace) (Amendment) Regulations 1999

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British Standards

BS 5499 – 1 safety signs, including fire safety signs Part 1 : Specification 1. This British Standard states how to use geometric shapes, colours andgraphical symbols to create safety signs with specific meanings.

Tips for the siting of safety signs

  1. Safety signs should not be located in a place containing a number of other signs or objects of similar size and colour.
  2. Safety signs should not be located in areas where colour contrast is poor. Add supplementary text to safety signs to increase their length and further improve comprehensibility and legibility.
  3. Train all staff, occupiers and visitors to the meaning of distinctive colour and geometric shape of safety signs as well as the detail of any graphical symbol signs used.
  4. Continue to reinforce this training and awareness.
  5. For fire exit safety signs, it is preferable to use additional reinforcing directional signs rather than rely on one larger sign at a longer viewing distance.

UK & EC Legislation

Health & Safety (Safety Signs & Signals) Regulations 1996

The Legislation:

  • Requires employers to use a safety sign whenever there is a risk that cannot becontrolled by any other means.
  • Demands that all safety sign boards contain a pictogram as part of their intrinsicdesign features.
  • Extends the term safety sign to include hand signals, pipeline marking, acousticsignals and illuminated signs.
  • Increases the number of safety symbols.
  • Incorporates fire safety signs.
    Use Health and Safety (Safety Signsand Signals) Regulation symbols designs when:
  • You want your safety signs to look exactly like the illustration in the Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996.
  • You want your safety signs to reflect European designs currently in use.

The Fire Precautions (Workplace) (Amendment) Regulations 1999

The Amendment Regulations came into force I st December 1999 extending the scopeof the Fire Precautions Regulations to include those workplaces where a firecertificate is in force or is pending.

It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that the requirements of theseregulations are complied with. In practice this will require employers to conduct a firerisk assessment on a regular basis and to keep records of the findings and actiontaken. For workplaces that are subject to a fire certification or licensing regime aswell as the Fire Precautions Regulations, employers will need to consult with thelocal fire authority where their risk assessment conflicts with the existing certificateor license.

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Self-Adhesive Vinyl

A gloss or matt finish adhesive material with a peel off backing. Suitable for indoor or outdoor use. Apply to clean, dry, smooth surfaces when temperature is above 0ºC. Only material supplied by internationally branded suppliers is used. Temperature range: -40ºC to +100ºC.

Rigid PVC (1mm thick)

Flexible plastic, ideal for fixing to surfaces where self-adhesive vinyl is not suitable. Easily punched or drilled for fixing. Temperature range: -10ºC to +75ºC.

Semi-Rigid PVC and Polycarbonate signs are supplied with double-sided adhesive pads for easy fixing.

Document Vinyl

A tamperproof self-adhesive vinyl. Once applied, any tampering will be immediately recognisable as this material cannot be removed in one piece.

Rigid PVC (1.5mm, 2mm, 3mm thick)

A high impact material, with more rigidity than semi-rigid 0.7mm. Temperature range: -10ºC to +75ºC.


Extra tough and durable. A super strong, 2mm thick rigid material which surpasses traditional sign making materials such as metals, wood etc. An excellent outdoor material with long term durability against the elements and vandalism. All graphics and text are sub-surface printed for protection.
Temperature range: -40ºC to +135ºC.

Photoluminescent Nite-Glo

Nite-glo will provide temporary high visibility in the dark, for a short period of time, after exposure to light sources. Nite-glo conforms to Class I of the P.S.P.A. Standards as measured using DIN 67510 pt.II 1992. Not recommended for use out of doors.

(a) Self-adhesive vinyl: Highly visible in the dark for emergency use, after exposure to natural or artificial light. Can be recharged by light any number of times. Self extinguishing. Temperature range: -40ºC to +80ºC.
(b) Rigid: A strong, robust rigid plastic approximately 1.3mm thick with the same properties as self-adhesive. Temperature range: -40ºC to +80ºC.
Materials are non-phosphorus, non-radioactive and lead free.