What do different colors of safety signs mean?

Like symbols, colors can help quickly communicate a message with just a glance. This should be included in the safety sign training and employees should have a comprehensive knowledge of what colors indicate in a safety sign. The following colors are used for certain situations as recommended by the ANSI Z535.1 code and OSHA standards:


  • Red: Red is reserved for danger signs and labels. This color signifies a hazardous situation, alerts people they need to stop, or mark off restricted areas. OSHA says red will be the basic color for identifying fire protection equipment and apparatus.
  • Orange: Used to alert people the fact there is dangerous parts of a machine or equipment. Most commonly used with labels that are placed directly on the machinery, but is also used for wall signs, specifically warning signs.
  • Yellow: Yellow signs are used anywhere that caution needs to be used, specifically physical hazards. This includes risks of tripping, falling, getting burned, being caught in a pinch point, experiencing hearing damage, and almost any other common hazard that may be present.
  • Green: Green is safety related and means there is no danger present. This color is commonly used for first aid signs or signs indicating exits.
  • Blue: Provides information about a particular item or area. This information doesn’t necessarily have to be safety related, such as property policies. Blue signs are also used for signs depicting mandatory actions by the employee and notice signs.
  • Magenta & Yellow: These signs using magenta text on a yellow background is used for radioactive materials or equipment that produces radiation.
  • Black & White: Used for guiding traffic or telling people which direction to go. Could also be used for housekeeping information in the facility. While not specifically safety related, having this type of signage can directly improve the safety of the facility.

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OSHA Safety Signs Guide
OSHA Label and Sign Color Chart
Label Samples
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