The Various Types of Warning Signs

Signage is vital in just about any building type. Whether it be commercial, industrial, medical, educational, or another type of building, signs are posted about for various reasons.

Understanding these different sign types – including warning signs – can be vital for the overall safety of occupants. Here are four different sign types that you should be aware of as either a business owner or other type of occupant.

Prohibition Signs

The term “warning sign” can apply to several different areas of signage. For instance, if you click here, you will find warning signs, fire safety signs, and more. Signage comes with all sorts of directives to them, telling anyone viewing them what to do or not do.

In education, medical, and business settings, these signs will serve specific purposes. For instance, prohibition signs indicate what should not be done in a certain area. These are typically apparent through “do not” verbiage or a symbol with a red line through it. If you see these signs, know that you should not be performing the action designated in the sign. For instance, you may see a sign with a person that has the line through it. This means that people should not be in the area.

Warning Signs

All that said, warning signs will specifically tell you about a particular danger or threat. For instance, a “Danger: High Voltage” sign would indicate that getting nearby or touching that piece of equipment could lead to a dangerous electrical shock. These signs are to promote safety standards while also aiming to prevent injury or death.

Warning signs can be displayed as standard signage or as floor markers (“wet floor”). In areas where there may be potential tripping hazards, it is commonplace to have a sign that tells passersby to watch their step. Areas where forklifts are prevalent will have warning signs about the potential dangers of forklifts in the area.

Mandatory Signage

Unlike other types of signage, which warn against an action or consequence, a mandatory sign indicates something that must be done to comply with requirements. General mandatory signs typically have specific verbiage or a known symbol to indicate something that must be done when in the area.

A common mandatory sign is “fire door keep shut.” The directive here ensures that the fire door remains shut other than in the event of a fire. These specific directives are largely directed to emergency exits and other safety procedures. Mandatory signage lists instructions and actions that the occupants of the building must carry out, specifically in the event of a fire or emergency.

Emergency Signage

When an emergency occurs, things can become scattered, chaotic, and dangerous. Having proper safety signage is meant to allow occupants of the building to safely navigate to an exit point even in the most chaotic of situations. More importantly, emergency signage will be required by local authorities with compliance codes that must be met. Regular maintenance and inspections are required in order to remain compliant and avoid potential fines and penalties in the process.

Emergency signage will direct occupants what to do in the event of an emergency. It can include directions to emergency exits, rescue facilities, first aid, and safe areas nearby. Emergency exits can be established using graphic floor markers as well as signs that hang overhead. The purpose is to establish a clear exit route when there is an emergency. Properly illuminated and displayed, emergency signage will direct people where to go and how to find the nearby exit. Complying with signage can be a difference-maker, especially when it comes to getting people out quickly.

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