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What does the HSE say about safety signs?

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are the UK government agency responsible for regulating and enforcing workplace health, safety and welfare. The information available on their website relates to businesses from all different industries and has been compiled to help companies keep legally compliant at all times. The HSE presents information on safety signs, including what employees must do and the existing regulations they must follow.

Safety sign requirements for employers

According to the HSE’s website, employers must take the following 3 precautions when using safety signs to control risk in the workplace.

  1. Make use of road traffic signs to regulate road traffic and protect pedestrians.
  2. Keep all safety signs in good condition at all times.
  3. Ensure employees understand the information on unfamiliar safety signs and are aware of the actions they should take in different settings.

The Health & Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996

The key law governing the use of safety signs in the workplace is detailed on the HSE’s website for the use of employers and duty holders. This regulation sets out what must be done to comply with a focus on safety signs and signals. Within this, the main specifications include:

  • Safety signs must be used where, in spite of other safety measures being in place, there is still a significant risk of hazard.
  • Safety signs must be clear and legible at all times.
  • They should be used to identify prohibited actions, such as restricted access.
  • They should also be used to give guidance on safeguards such as wearing PPE.
  • They should be used to warn of a potential hazard such as excessive noise.
  • They should be used to direct individuals towards fire exits or first aid equipment.
  • Employers should be cautious not to use too many signs resulting in confusion.

These regulations are set in place through a UK law and are recognised across the EU.

This means that, when working with international employees, they are likely to understand the message put across.

BS EN ISO 7010:2020

Set in place to standardize the look of safety signs, BS EN ISO 7010:2929 is an international standard. It is used across the EU and recognised in all governing bodies. The standard applies to manufacturers who produce signs and symbols as well as health & safety advisors, manager and fire advisory services.

It was created to ensure the symbols used on safety signs can be internationally recognised, ensuring clarity and consistency. This should be regardless of native language, culture or the setting in which they are used. There are 2 further standards that work to create a uniformed sign design here in the UK. These are:

  • ISO 3864-1 – Refers to the shape and colour of safety signs.
  • ISO 3864-3 – Refers to the graphical symbols used in safety signs.

When purchasing a sign for your workplace, it is advised that you purchase from manufacturers who abide by these standards. Here at Lasting Impressions, we have a wide range of safety signs that conform with both the recommendations from the HSE and BS EN ISO 7010:2020. Browse the website, design a bespoke sign or contact us today for more information.