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Requirements for workplace safety signs

What kinds of safety signs are required in a workplace?

That depends on the type of workplace and the hazards in it. Safety signs draw attention to objects and situations affecting health and safety. They do not replace the need for systems or measures to control the particular hazard.

Safety signs should comply with NZS/AS 1319: 1994 Safety signs for the occupational environment (Refer to www.standards.co.nz). The Standard distinguishes between the following categories of safety sign:

(a) Regulatory signs: containing instructions, which if not complied with constitute an offence at law or a breach of standing safety procedures, e.g. fire, naked flame and smoking prohibited; head protection must be worn; hearing protection must be worn; drive between yellow lines only.

(b) Hazard signs: warning of hazards such as fire risk, explosion risk, toxic hazard, forklift hazard, electrical shock hazard.

(c) Emergency information signs: indicating the location of facilities such as emergency exits, safety equipment, first aid facilities.

(d) Fire signs: advising the location of fire alarms and fire-fighting facilities.

The Standard provides detailed guidance on the design of different types of signs, and how and where they should be displayed. The Standard recommends that explanation of the functions and meanings of safety signs should be included in employee training and induction programmes. When a new sign is displayed, or the location of an existing sign changed, employees should be informed of this, and the reasons for the change explained. Safety equipment suppliers provide a range of safety signs that comply with the Standard.


Date Modified: Wednesday, 8 December 2010

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