Anatomy of a Safety Sign

Industry experts recommend keeping facility signs clear and up-to-date using this most recent standard. This standardized sign format continues today to be the choice for selecting messages in safety signs. 

Parts of a Safety Sign
A clear and consistent format is key to quick recognition and understanding.

  • Signal Word Panel (Header)
    • Safety Alert Symbol
    • Signal Word
  • Message Panel
    • Message Text
    • Symbol

Choosing a Sign Header

Is it a Hazardous Situation?

  • If No : Use a SAFETY or NOTICE header
  • If Yes: Is there potential for an accident? 
  • If No : Use a NOTICE header.  
  • If Yes : If it will cause death or injury: use DANGER header/If it may cause death or serious injury: use WARNING header/If it may cause minor or moderate injury: use CAUTION header/If it may cause property damage: use NOTICE header

Writing a Message
When choosing what a sign will say, make your message clear, direct, and readable.

  • Most urgent information first
  • Direct instructions
  • Simple phrasing
  • Sentence-style capitalization
  • Left-aligned text

The right image can clarify or support a sign’s message. Choose a symbol that’s easy to recognize and relates directly to the most important information on a sign. If a specific hazard is present or specific PPE is needed, show it with an image.Optionally, a symbol can appear with a surrounding shape. These shapes have useful meanings: Information,  ΔHazard Alert,  ΟMandatory, &  ∅Prohibited

It’s still your choice which format to use. Regardless of which format you choose, and even if you mix formats in your facility, be sure to train your employees and contractors on the importance of recognizing the hazards in your facility, by understanding the signs to safety.