Safety signs are made to convey visual information. Most of the time, this visual information is about possible dangers or warnings about the place. Safety signs help communicate essential instructions, inform about safety, and guide people in emergencies.
They are used in various daily lives, like offices, public spaces, and construction areas. The most common use we notice is the wet floor warning, warning us of a slippery floor. There are now regulations in place for office spaces that make emergency signs in Australia mandatory.
The different regulatory signs
There are a lot of different types of safety signs used in a variety of other places. They can be broadly classified as:
Prohibition signs: Prohibition signs are signs used to indicate that a particular or a set of actions are prohibited in that place. These are identified by the circle and slash on them.
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No overtaking signs are an excellent example of prohibition signs.
Mandatory signs signify one or multiple actions that mandatorily need to be done. These are in a white cut out of a blue background.
Danger signs: as the name implies, this sign means danger or a possible life-threatening warning; the reason is generally written below the sign. These signs are mostly in red and white text with a black surrounding. One example shown in movies is the danger sign for radioactive material.
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Warning signs: these signs are very similar to the danger signs with almost the same meaning. But with fewer levels of danger associated with them. Warning signs come in black and yellow triangles, with text in black and the triangle yellow. We see these regularly in steep roads with hairpin bends, warning us of possible oncoming traffic.
Fire safety signs: all are familiar with the sign showing a man running from fire in red and white. This is the fire safety sign; it’s generally used to advise the location of fire fighting equipment, alarms and evacuation measures in case of fires.
Emergency signs: there are many different emergency signs; the most common are the Emergency exit, assembly point, and first aid. The Emergency signs are essential because of the critical information they convey during emergencies that help save lives. Emergency signs are primarily green with a white outlined symbol indicating the data it represents.
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Australian rules when it comes to regulatory signs
The Australian government has many standards set for different issues. Emergency signs in Australia also have standards set for them. The leading Australian standard related to characters is AS 1319- safety signs for the occupational environment. AS1319 sets requirements for designing and using different signs in the occupational setting. The main aim of these are regulations are:
- Regulate and control safety-related behaviour
- Warn about the various hazards present in the place
- Provide information related to fire safety and fire fighting measures in place.
AS1319 does not give guidelines regarding exit signs; AS2293.1 has the proper standards.
The need for these signs
There are many reasons as to why there are many different signs used in the world around us; some of the most important reasons are:
- Hazard indication is significant in many jobs with a lot of physical work; heavy machinery and dangerous tools increase the risk. These signs are essential to help keep the accidents to a minimum.
- Emergency signs help in a multitude of ways. First, they help in the controlled movement of panicked people in emergencies; they also help evacuators ease up the process of complete evacuation. This, in the end, helps avoid stampedes and unnecessary casualties.
- Special hazard warnings help people avoid those hazards; these are commonly electric fences, high voltage warnings, etc.