Safety Signs in the Workplace: Get the Job Done Safely

Knowing what types of safety signs in the workplace are best for your jobsite can help create a safe and secure workspace.


Studies have shown that the use of safety signs in the workplace can significantly reduce accidents on jobsites. They can provide critical information to protect people from hazards that can happen on the job. Knowing what types of safety signs are best for your workplace helps create a safe and secure jobsite.


There Are Many Different Types of Safety Signs in the Workplace

There are various kinds of safety signs that can be used in the workplace. They notify people of potential safety hazards and provide instructions on how to stay safe.

  • Warning Signs alert people of hazards or risks in the area. They help bring attention to dangerous conditions that can lead to non-life-threatening injuries. Warning Signs should have a brief description of the hazard and steps to avoid it. Examples include electric shock signs, wet floor signs and hazardous materials.
  • Danger Signs are used for more serious safety hazards than Warning Signs. Danger Signs notify people of safety hazards that can cause serious injury or death. They will also include instructions on how to protect yourself and stay safe in the area. Examples include high voltage signs, safety radiation signs and safety hazard signs.
  • Mandatory Safety Signs inform people of safety regulations that need to be followed. They should have a clear description of the regulation as well as instructions on how to follow them. Examples include no smoking signs and safety helmet signs.
  • Emergency Signs are used to warn people of safety risks in urgent situations and provide information on emergency-related facilities. Emergency Signs will have instructions on what to do during an emergency if one occurs. Examples include fire safety signs, evacuation signs and first aid signs.
  • Fire Safety Signs notify people of potential fire risks. Fire Safety Signs will have information on how to prevent a fire in an area, as well as the location of fire equipment like fire extinguishers or fire hoses. Examples include fire extinguisher location signs, smoke alarm signs and exit signs.


Related: While signs are important in the workplace, keeping your workers safe requires a clean jobsite, free of debris and spills. Read our article on sorbents and spill control to learn more

OSHA Safety Sign Requirements

OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.145 explains what must be included on a sign or tag for it to be OSHA compliant.


Safety Sign Header

  • The sign header is a single word and must use capitalized, block letters.


Signal Words

  • Danger
    • Used when there is a threat of death or serious injury due to a hazard.
    • Red, white and black lettering
    • The coloring must be opaque and glossy.
  • Warning
    • Used when there is a hazard that could possibly be life-threatening.
    • Represents a hazard level between Caution and Danger.
    • Orange with black lettering
  • Caution
    • Used when there is a hazard, but it is a non-immediate, lesser threat.
    • Black with yellow lettering
  • Notice
    • Used for information rather than to warn.
    • Blue with white lettering
  •  Other
    • Various other wordings can be used for OSHA approved signs such as: Safety Instructions, Safety First, Think, Be Careful and Emergency.
    • These safety signs are where there is a need for general instructions and suggestions relative to safety measures.
    • The Security Notice sign has also been developed as an additional type of OSHA Notice sign.
    • A special Caution sign is used when there is radioactive material present, with purple or magenta radiation symbol with yellow background.


Wording Format Information

  • Safety sign information must be centered and easy to understand.


Safety Symbols

  • Signs often use universal symbols or pictograms for quick comprehension, regardless of language barriers.
  • One example would be an image of a cigarette with a red line through it to indicate no smoking.


Sign Materials and Specifications

  • Signs must have rounded or blunt corners without any sharp edges.
  • Signs must be made of materials that can stand up to the elements.

Related: Does your company have an effective fall protection rescue plan? Read our article on how you can implement your own fall protection rescue plan at your jobsite


Choosing the Right Safety Sign Materials

When choosing the appropriate safety sign for your workplace, there are several options available to choose from. The most common types are plastic, aluminum and adhesive-backed safety signs; each having distinct advantages.


  • Plastic Safety Signs are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. They are resilient and can handle rain and sun without color fading or deteriorating. They are lightweight and more cost effective than aluminum safety signs, along with being easily customizable.
  • Aluminum Safety Signs are well known for their durability. They are highly resistant to weather and corrosion, as well as being less prone to bending or warping. Aluminum safety signs are an excellent choice for outdoor usage.
  • Adhesive-Backed Safety Signs are a great option for a temporary application. Adhesive-backed safety signs can be easily fixed to various surfaces, such as doors, windows, equipment, and walls; without external hardware to mount them. They are cost-effective options and easily available for quick safety sign needs.


The design and implementation of signs in the workplace are subject to ongoing improvements based on feedback, research and technological advancements to enhance their effectiveness. Modern safety signs might integrate technology, such as illuminated signs, solar-powered signs, digital displays, or even augmented reality, to enhance visibility and effectiveness.


Wesco Offers a Wide Variety of Safety Signs In The Workplace

Feel free to contact our Safety Support Team to help you select the best safety signs in the workplace. We can offer a wide variety of options that fit your budget and specific needs, including many of the options listed below:

  • Safety Signs
  • Green Signs
  • Bilingual Signs
  •  Floor Signs
  • Graphic & Pictorial Signs
  • Glow-In-The-Dark Signs
  • NFPA Signs
  • Traffic Signs
  • Pipe Markers
  • Tags
  • Warning Labels & Marking Labels
  • Decals
  • Banners & Posters
  • Safety Tape
  • Scoreboards
  • Sign Printers & Printer Accessories
  • Contractor Signs & Supplies


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