What are types of signs in the workplace?

danger, warning, caution, notice signs

There are five different types of signs recognized by the ANSI Z535 series of standards: danger signs, warning signs, caution signs, notice signs, and safety instruction signs. The first three are considered hazard communication signs and the last two informational.

By becoming familiar with the Z535 standard, a facility will be able to determine which sign to use in any given situation. Implementing signage in the workplace is one of the easiest ways to improve employee safety. This is because visual communication can be easily read, created, and installed by both management and employees. That said, it is also the constant reminders from these signs that help reinforce safe behavior in the workplace.

Saving Lives with Danger Signs

Danger signs are specifically used for situations where a potentially deadly or otherwise serious hazard is present. These special visual communication tools feature a red background with white text and should be reserved for only the most dangerous hazards in the facility.

For example, danger signs can be used in situations where arc flashes have the potential to occur. Danger signs can also be used to warn employees of cutting or blunt force hazards such as pinch points, saws, and conveyor belts.

These signs can save the lives of both workers and anyone else in the vicinity. Remember, simple reminders can go a long way.

Warning Signs for Serious Hazards

One level of severity down from danger signs are warning signs. The signs have black text surrounded by an orange background and means there is a serious hazard present that could result in injury or death.

Often hung up on walls at eye level or directly placed on heavy equipment, warning signs are ferry essential messages to workers about the environment they are in. These often incite the need for PPE or to stay away from the dangerous space entirely.

Types of Caution Signs

Caution signs, black text with a yellow background, are used for hazardous situations that if not avoided, might cause minor or moderate injury. These types of signs are seen often in public places tripping hazard signs, or “Slippery When Wet” signs.

AS can be seen from this example, caution signs aren’t just for manufacturing or distribution facilities. They can be used in a variety of other places to keep all kinds of people safe from minor injuries.

Inform Workers with Notice Signs

Notice signs are blue with white text. These types of signs are used to convey other information not related to safety and when there is no hazard present. A “no smoking” sign for instance might be placed on a warning sign if there are flammable liquids, but a blue no smoking sign means the prohibited act is not due to safety reasons.

These signs can be anywhere. They establish rules for the area that help maintain a safe environment, whether that be protecting others from secondhand smoke to even peanut allergies in a school lunchroom setting. 

Types of Safety Instruction Signs

Safety instruction signs include a green background with white text. These types of signs are informational in nature but still related to safety. The most common kind of these signs are related to first aid.

Using safety instruction signs for objects, like first aid kits, are great for directing employees on where to go to find this item. While they provide the reader with necessary information, these signs are also enabling employees to react to an emergency quickly.

Improve Workplace Safety with Many Different Types of Signs

These are just the signs recognized by OSHA and ANSI. Facilities have the freedom to hang up funnier safety signs or safety signs with catchy slogans like “Use your head or lose it!” Having safety signs with clever phrases can be more eye-catching and, in some cases, more effective than the required safety signs.

If your company is in need of various safety signs, Creative Safety Supply has thousands of choices. No to mention the options for custom signage, as well as the ability to print your very own signs in-house!


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