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A Comprehensive List of Safety Signs in Australia.

Safety signs contribute immensely towards ensuring safety. What words take minutes to convey, signs only take seconds.

What are the types of safety signs in Australia?

Short answer: Safety signs in Australia can be divided into seven main categories; Prohibition, Danger, Warning, Fire, Restriction, Mandatory, and Emergency Information.

  • These signs have their own style of depiction, which makes them easy to identify.
  • The government of Australia have set out specific standards regarding when and where to display these signs.

Read on to find out more about the entire list of safety signs in Australia.

No Entry Sign

Standards for Safety Signs

The government of Australia has set out specific standards for safety signs as per AS1319-1994. 

  • AS1319-1994 sets out standards and requirements for the design and use of safety signs in workplaces.

The above standard is expected to,

  • Regulated and control safety-related behaviour.
  •  To warn of hazards and provide emergency information. 
  • Specify sign classifications and layouts.

Furthermore, AS1319-1994 requires signs to be suitable for the intended application and employees to be informed of their purpose.

Size and visibility are important factors when it comes to safety signs. The following guidelines have been provided to ensure the maximum use of safety signs.

  • If lighting conditions are good and signs are mounted in a prominent position, 
    • Symbols must be 15mm per meter of viewing distance.
    • Upper case text must be 5mm per meter of viewing distance.

Note: These conditions/sizes must be increased by 50% if lighting conditions and viewing positions are poor.

Additionally,

  • Where practical, safety signs must be mounted close to the observer's line of sight on a vertical plane. 
  • Safety signs must be maintained in good condition, kept clean and well-illuminated. 
  • Safety signs must be located against contrasting backgrounds such that the possibility of signs being obscure due to stacked materials or other visual materials is minimised.

Safety Signs and Their Meanings

There are seven main categories that make up the entire list of safety signs in Australia. These have different purposes and convey different types of information.

  • Prohibition signs
  •  Mandatory signs
  •  Restriction signs
  •  Warning signs 
  • Danger signs 
  • Emergency information signs 
  • Fire signs

Prohibition Signs 

These inform you to prohibit/refrain from doing a certain task. These are designed according to the following criteria.

  • The designated symbolic shape is a red circle with a red diagonal slash through it. 
  • The red diagonal slash is superimposed over a black pictograph to depict the specific activity it's referring to. (Example - If it's a no-smoking area, the red slash would be across a black pictograph of a cigarette.) 
  • The background of the sign is white, and any text used is black.

Some of these signs include,

  • No entry 
  • No eating or drinking 
  • Do not use 
  • No smoking 
  • Unauthorised personnel not allowed.

Mandatory Signs

Mandatory signs are the opposite of prohibition signs. These inform you of instructions that must be followed to ensure your safety and others. Mandatory signs are styled using the following criteria.

  • The symbolic shape is a blue circle.
  • A white pictograph of the activity that the sign is referring to (Example example - Safety goggles) is superimposed on the sign. 
  • The background is white, while any text used is black.

Some of these signs include,

  • Protection must be worn
  • Guards must be used 
  • Always use 
  • Body parts must be contained 
  • Always wash hands 
  • Protective equipment must be worn beyond this point.

Restriction Signs

Restriction signs place a numerical or other defined limit on an activity or use of a facility (Example - Speed signs). These signs are styled according to the following criteria.

  • The symbolic shape is a red circle.
  • However, these do not have a diagonal red slash like prohibition signs.
  •  It contains a black pictograph or a legend inside the circle. 
  • The background is white, while any other text is black.

Note: AS1319-1994 does not give any specific signs of this type but notes that speed limit signs, as given in AS1742.1, are often encountered in the workplace.

Biohazard Sign

Warning Signs

These signs inform you of upcoming hazards and conditions, urging readers to exercise caution. These are styled according to the following criteria.

  • The symbolic shape is a black triangle.
  • A black pictograph denoting the hazard is included inside the black triangle. 
  • The sign background is yellow, while any text used is black.

Some of these signs include,

  • Slippery when wet 
  • Beware of injury while lifting 
  • Beware of flash 
  • Beware of vehicles 
  • Biohazard

Danger Signs

These signs warn you of much more immediate, life-threatening dangers. The information listed on danger signs must be taken into consideration by all workers, given the serious nature of the hazards they warn of.

Danger signs are styled using the following criteria.

  • The symbolic shape is the word "DANGER" in white on a red oval, which is surrounded by a black rectangle. This style usually forms a heading for a white background on the sign. 
  • In certain instances, it might occupy the left side of a horizontal sign. 
  • Any text used will be black.

Some of these signs include,

  • Do not enter 
  • High voltage 
  • Crush zone 
  • Acid 
  • Toxic

Emergency Information Signs 

These signs act as informative signs. They inform the reader of emergency facilities that are located nearby. These signs are styled according to the following criteria.

  • They consist of a green background.
  • The pictographs used will be white in colour.

Some of these signs include,

  • Fire/Emergency exit 
  • First aid 
  • Lifeboat 
  • Emergency telephone 
  • Assembly area 
  • Emergency shower

Fire Signs

These signs are an integral part of the entire list of safety signs in Australia. They inform readers of areas where fire alarms or fire fighting equipment are available.

These signs are styled as follows.

  • The background is red. Any pictograph used is white.
  • The background is red. Any pictograph used is white.

Some of these signs include,

  • Fire alarm 
  • Fire alarm (Pull) 
  • Fire extinguisher 
  • Fire hose, Break glass 
  • This extinguisher (A/B/C/D/K)

Safety Signs Checklist

Every workplace needs a safety signs checklist. Such a checklist will help you determine what signs to use out of the entire list of safety signs in Australia.

Given below is a concise checklist that can be used to determine to safety signs needed for your workplace.

  • Does your workplace contain risks that could lead to life-threatening incidents if the signs are ignored? If so, you'll need Danger Signs in your workplace. (Example - The presence of flammable substances)
  • Does your workplace contain certain acts that are forbidden due to safety or ethical reasons or by legal provisions? If so, you will need Prohibition Signs in your workplace. (Example - No Smoking)
  • Does your workplace contain risks or hazards that could lead to injuries? If so, you will need Warning Signs to warn employees of such hazards.
  • If you need to inform your employees of emergency facilities that have been installed, use Emergency Information Signs. (Example - Fire equipment or safety routes).
  • If you need to inform your employees of equipment that are intended to be used during a fire, use Fire Signs. (Example - Fire Alarms and Fire Extinguishers).

Are There Any New Must-Have Safety Signs?

Changes to the existing code of safety signs in Australia do not happen often. Therefore, the entire list of safety signs in Australia goes unchanged for the most part.

However, the recent Covid-19 pandemic warranted the inclusion of new safety signs. Some of these signs include,

  • Wear masks
  • Wash hands before entering. 
  • Sanitise. 
  • Maintain distancing.
High Voltage SIgn

Related Questions:

Where can I buy these safety signs?

Currently, there are many physical and online stores in Australia that sell safety signs. You can customise these signs according to the size you need.

How often should I clean these safety signs?

It is advisable to clean them at least once every three months. If these are installed in an environment where dust and other material are frequent, then clean them at closer intervals to make sure that they are clear and visible at all times.

Conclusion

Safety signs in Australia, as set out by AS1319-1994, are a comprehensive set of safety signs that are capable of covering and informing the masses about a number of safety hazards that they might come across. Using them strategically will go a long way in ensuring the safety of many.

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