Signs, Signs, Signs

“Signs, signs, everywhere there’s signs.
Blockin’ out the scenery; breaking my mind.
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the signs?”

According to the words of “Signs” a song by the Five Man Electrical Band there are signs everywhere. Sometimes they are there for a good reason, such as to comply with a law, other times to voice opinions, and yet other times to advertise products or political agendas. In OSHA, and if you think that is a small town in Wisconsin you are in trouble, we find requirements under both Part 1910 and Part 1926 for regulatory signs.

For those of you not familiar with Part 1926, it deals with the Safety and Health Regulations for Construction. Signage is found in OSHA under Part 1926.200 and gets pretty specific about requirements. Topics include; Danger, Caution, Exit, Safety and Directional Signs. In addition to the signage regulations you also have warning and advisory tags and “Safety Motto” signs. Pretty soon you begin to have sensory overload for your brain to try and absorb. So let’s try to simplify things for you.

View all of ICC’s signage »

Danger signs are red and shall be used only where an immediate hazard exists.
Caution signs are yellow and shall be used only to warn against potential hazards or to caution against unsafe practices.
Exit signs are white with red lettering in a specific size and they may or may not be backlit.
Safety instruction signs shall be white with green upper panel with white letters to convey the principal message.
Directional signs (other than traffic signs) shall be white with a black panel and a white directional symbol.
Traffic signs are another thing all together. They are regulated and have to comply with Part VI of the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices.

View all of ICC’s tags »

Accident prevention tags shall be used as a temporary means of warning employees of an existing hazard, such as defective tools, equipment, etc. They shall not be used in place of, or as a substitute for, accident prevention signs.

While OSHA does not require tags to be specific colors, they do provide a list of recommended colors based on the danger being addressed. Red tags indicate dangerous situations, while yellow tags are used to indicate that caution should be taken. Warning tags are orange, and indicate more general safety instructions or information. Biological hazard tags are fluorescent orange or reddish-orange, and should feature a bio-hazard symbol along with the written word.

Now add American National Standards Institute or ANSI standards into it and you can see why there is a whole industry that makes a living making, selling, distributing and erecting signs. Even here at ICC Compliance Center we make signs [link to:] , in order to better service our customers.

Under OSHA Part 1910 and in particular, OSHA Specifications for Accident Prevention Signs (1910.145) requires the use of safety signs to indicate and define specific hazards that, without identification, may lead to accidental injury to workers and/or the public or to property damage.

OSHA also regulates the safety of the actual sign design. Signs need to have rounded or blunt corners and cannot have sharp edges or projections. Red, black and white are the colors designated for danger signs. Caution signs have a yellow background, and the panel is black with yellow letters. Text used on the yellow background must be black. OSHA requires the wording of safety signs to indicate positive actions rather than negative, and to be concise and easy to read.

Neither OSHA nor DOT allow for the use of handmade signs, labels or placards for times when those items are required to comply with the law. The bottom line is that when you need regulatory signage; make sure that you choose a reputable vendor for your needs.

“Signs, signs, everywhere there’s signs.
Blockin’ out the scenery; breaking my mind.
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the signs?”