Wednesday, April 6, 2011

OSHA Safety Sign Requirements

OSHA has published several guidelines for workplace safety signs. Here are some of the main points that our defined in the OSHA 29 CFR regulations:

These specifications apply to the design, application, and use of signs or symbols (as included in paragraphs (c) through (e) of this section) intended to indicate and, insofar as possible, to define specific hazards of a nature such that failure to designate them may lead to accidental injury to workers or the public, or both, or to property damage. These specifications are intended to cover all safety signs except those designed for streets, highways, railroads, and marine regulations. These specifications do not apply to plant bulletin boards or to safety posters.

All new signs and replacements of old signs shall be in accordance with these specifications.

Definitions. As used in this section, the word "sign" refers to a surface on prepared for the warning of, or safety instructions of, industrial workers or members of the public who may be exposed to hazards. Excluded from this definition, however, are news releases, displays commonly known as safety posters, and bulletins used for employee education.

Danger Signs
There shall be no variation in the type of design of signs posted to warn of specific dangers and radiation hazards. All employees shall be instructed that danger signs indicate immediate danger and that special precautions are necessary. Danger signs are to be colors red, black, and white.

Here are some examples of OSHA "Danger" Signs.

Caution Signs
Caution signs shall be used only to warn against potential hazards or to caution against unsafe practices. All employees shall be instructed that caution signs indicate a possible hazard against which proper precaution should be taken. Standard color of the background shall be yellow; and the panel, black with yellow letters. Any letters used against the yellow background shall be black.

Here are some examples of OSHA "Caution" Signs.

Safety Instruction Signs
Safety instruction signs shall be used where there is a need for general instructions and suggestions relative to safety measures. Standard color of the background shall be white; and the panel, green with white letters. Any letters used against the white background shall be black.

Here are some examples of OSHA "Safety Instruction" Signs.

Notice Signs
OSHA does not formally recognize "Notice" signs. However, when appropriate, workplaces commonly use safety "Notice" signs. These are commonly blue, black and white in color.

Here are some examples of safety "Notice" Signs.

General OSHA Requirements for Workplace Safety Signage
The wording of any sign should be easily read and concise. The sign should contain sufficient information to be easily understood. The wording should make a positive, rather than negative suggestion and should be accurate in fact. All signs shall be furnished with rounded or blunt corners and shall be free from sharp edges, burrs, splinters, or other sharp projections. The ends or heads of bolts or other fastening devices shall be located in such a way that they do not constitute a hazard.