Danger, Caution, Warning, Stop!
OSHA has a lot to say about safety signs in the workplace. It’s the first critical step when it comes to workplace safety to alert employees and visitors to dangers, warnings and safety instructions that shouldn’t be missed.
Signs and tags are an important part of work area safety. They protect workers, visitors and the general public. If there is a potential hazard, signs must be visible at all times. OSHA has specific regulations pertaining to signs, symbols and tags.
Sign refers to a permanent or temporary notice or placard that provides a warning or safety instructions for industrial workers or members of the public who may be exposed to hazards.
Tag is a kind of sign usually made of card, paper, pasteboard, plastic or other material used to identify a hazardous condition. Tags are usually used temporarily.
All safety signs should be visible and legible. If an active sign is vandalized, becomes rusted, or is coming off the affixed location, it must be replaced immediately. Any sign that is no longer relevant should be covered or removed immediately.
Danger signs indicate that there is an immediate threat and special precautions are necessary.
Red should be the main color on the top of a black and white Danger sign.
Don’t assume everyone is aware of clear and present danger, signs are important!
Use Danger signs to mark hazardous areas to prevent potential serious injuries to employees and others that could be in the area at any time.
Caution signs warn against potential hazards or caution against unsafe practices, that if not avoided, could result in minor or moderate injury.
Caution signs are yellow and black to ensure they are easily visible.
Warning signs indicate a potentially hazardous situation.
More information about the use of safety tags:
Accident prevention tags are used to prevent accidental injury or illness to employees who are exposed to hazardous conditions that may be unexpected or not readily apparent.
Tags shall be used only until the identified hazard is eliminated or the hazardous operation is completed.
Tags don’t need to be used where signs, barricades or other means of protection are being used.
A biological hazard warning sign or tag shall be used to signify the actual or potential presence of a biohazard and to identify equipment, containers, rooms, materials, or experimental animals which contain, or are contaminated with, viable hazardous agents.
Safety Instruction signs are used to provide information, procedures or instructions.
Notice signs are often blue and provide information that is considered important but not directly hazardous (example: security or hygiene).
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