Safety Signs Explained

Safety Signs Explained

Safety Signs in Australia are crucial in any work environment. The primary importance of displaying Safety Signs is to prevent injury and ensure staff and visitors are well aware of the possible dangers and hazards ahead in certain situations and/or environments. 

Without signs, many employees would lack the necessary direction in times of crisis, and employers might find themselves in significant legal difficulties if any accidents were to arise as a result.

By ensuring the workplace is sufficiently well signed, you can help protect your staff and visitors to the site, particularly members of the public, against the possible dangers that may be unnoticed - leading to less industrial accidents and reduced risk to employees and passerby’s.

Keeping people safe at work is priority number one. Safety signs play an important role in doing just that, but often many people are confused about the safety signs they require. That is why Australian safety signs have been categorised into 6 main types, this also keeps a consistent design across similar functions. By understanding the types of signs and their purpose, you can determine what you need in your workplace and where to display them.


AS 1319-1994 standard for industrial warning signs sets out requirements for the design and use of safety signs intended for use in the occupations environment to regulate and control safety related behavior, to warn of hazards and to provide emergency information including fire protection information. The AS 1319-1994 standard provides direction for the use of safety signs, by means of background colour marking, legend and symbols.


Prohibition and Mandatory safety signs have been classified Regulatory Signs in the Australian Standard AS1319:1994 Safety Signs for the Occupational Environment. These signs contain instructions on what CAN’T be done or MUST be done.

Below are the 6 main types of Safety Signs

Prohibition Signs

Prohibition Signs specify behaviour or actions that are not permitted. The annulus and slash are depicted in red over the action symbol in black. Sign wording is in black lettering on a white background. Prohibition signs comply with AS 1319 regulations.


Mandatory Signs

Mandatory signs specify an instruction that must be carried out. Symbols (or pictograms) are depicted in white on a blue circular background. Sign wording, if necessary, is in black lettering on a white background. Mandatory signs comply with AS 1319 regulations.


Danger Signs

Danger signs provide a warning when a hazard or a hazardous condition is likely to be life-threatening. The word "Danger" is featured inside a red oval on a black rectangle.


Warning Signs 

Warning signs warn of hazards or a hazardous condition that is not likely to be life-threatening. The hazard symbol is black on a yellow background and a triangle is depicted around the hazard symbol. Sign wording, if necessary, is in black lettering on a yellow background. 


Emergency Information Signs

Emergency Signs indicate the nearest location of, or directions to emergency-related facilities (Exits, First Aid, Safety equipment etc.). Features a white symbol and/or text on a green background. Emergency Information Signs comply with AS 1319 regulations.


Fire Signs

The bright red of Fire Signs makes them easy to spot around fire alarms and fire-fighting equipment. All text and imagery is white and stands out against the red background. Fire Signs are available to indicate the location of all your fire equipment, like fire extinguishers, fire blankets, fire hoses, and more.

General Information Signs

These signs are not referred in AS1319, however, are available due to popular demand. They communicate information of a general nature and often refer to Housekeeping, Company Practices and Logistics.

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