Safety signs are a type of sign designed to warn of hazards, indicate mandatory actions or required use of Personal protective equipment, prohibit actions or objects, identify the location of firefighting or safety equipment, or marking of exit routes.

Modern signage design typically consists of a symbol, warning text and in some countries[e] a header consisting of a signal word

Modern signage wording consists of three elements:

  • Identifying the hazard: “High voltage.”
  • Ramifications of the hazard: “Contact will shock, burn or cause death.”
  • How to avoid the hazard: “Disconnect power to service equipment.”

For situations or tasks that are not continuous in nature, such as wet floors, maintenance and cleaning; portable signs are utilized. They are designed to be self supporting and relatively easy to move once the task is complete. The 1914 Universal Safety Standards provided for a portable ‘Danger’ sign suitable for both hard floors and soft dirt. Portable signs can take a variety of forms, from a  with stick on letters, plastic  signs, to safety signs mounted on poles with bases that enable movement.

Since the late 1980s, more emphasis has been put on testing signage for clarity and to eliminate possible misunderstandings. Researchers have examined the impacts of using different signal words.

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