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What do the colours on signs mean?

Here in the UK, all safety signs are manufactured to abide by The Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996. By law, they are required to provide information to employees and visitors to minimise the risk of serious injury in a specified place. To ensure compliance and clear understanding, most signs fall into 4 groupings which are categorised by specific colours. This standardised requirement ensures that signs placed around a workplace can be easily read and instructions followed, without the need for excessive explaining or training.

Safety sign colours and their meanings


We universally recognise the colour red as providing a prohibition. For this reason, it is used on prohibitory signs that are designed to highlight a dangerous situation. This may be a situation that poses a constant threat or one that could be caused without this key information. Generally, red signs feature a round, thick-bordered red circle with a diagonal line striking out an image of the hazard. Additional text is included on the sign to emphasise the warning.


Yellow safety signs are used to warn readers that they need to take care or specific cautions in a given space. The yellow used here is bold and highly visible, being paired with black for a strong contrast. Most yellow signs use a triangle in the design, which is the universally accepted shape for warning. This has a black thick edge and a black image of the specified hazard within. As with prohibition signs, text is included to further emphasise the warning in question.


Blue signs are some of the most common options in workplaces and are known as mandatory signs. The information given specifies a behaviour or action that must occur to minimise the risk of injury or hazards in a specified area. This includes signs that dictate the use of eye protection for safety or the need for a fire door to be kept shut at all times.


Green signs are used for safety and pass on vital information that will keep users safe in the event of an emergency. Think fire exit signs or those used to highlight the location of a first aid box. They are normally rectangular and feature white text and images to emphasise their purpose.

It is your responsibility, as a business owner, to ensure that safety signs are placed appropriately throughout your property. We can help here at Lasting Impressions, with our wide range of Fire Safety Signs.