Construction sites have many hazards that could potentially impact your workforce and members of the public. Whether it’s a warning sign for falling debris and flammable materials or a mandatory action hoarding sign on the perimeter of your site, informing people as to the dangers and correct actions to maintain safety, all construction signs are crucial to complying with regulations and protecting lives. With construction site signage, you can effectively communicate risks to your workforce and others while ensuring your business is legally compliant. UK Safety Store exists to make safety simple, which is why - here - we offer a detailed guide to what construction signs you need, including information on the various types of construction site signage, the laws and regulations related to construction health and safety signs, and how to decide which site safety signs you need.
What are the different types of construction safety signs?
There are five types of general construction safety signs that you need to be aware of. Each has a different purpose and bears its own shape and colours to ensure quick identification. Below, you can learn about each type of construction safety sign.
A mandatory construction safety sign is depicted by a blue circle with white writing or images inside. In many cases, mandatory safety signs also include an accompanying blue panel inside, which contains more detailed information. This type of construction site sign instructs people as to actions they must obey in order to maintain safety - or a ‘mandatory’ action.
For example, an All Visitors And Drivers Must Report To The Site Office sign ensures site managers know exactly who is on their construction site. This is essential for ensuring only authorised and qualified personnel are allowed to move freely throughout the construction project. More than that, in the event of a fire or emergency, the presence of visitors must be recorded so the fire marshal has an up-to-date list of who should be at the fire assembly point.
A warning construction sign is used to make people aware of a hazard. These are displayed using a yellow triangle with a black border. Additionally, they may also include a yellow panel with notes detailing more about the danger. This type of construction safety sign is essential for ensuring the safety of everyone on site. For example, a Danger High Voltage Cables sign effectively communicates the need for caution as an electric shock could prove fatal to anyone unaware of the risk. In many cases, a warning sign will be paired with a mandatory safety sign, showing a potential risk and the appropriate mandatory action to avoid that risk, such as the Warning Construction Site - Keep Away sign. To learn more, read our article on construction warning signs.
Prohibition building site signs are used to communicate actions that must be avoided in order to maintain safety. These signs use a red circle with a red line through the centre and will be accompanied by a red panel with white text detailing the prohibited action. For example, a Pedestrians Please Use The Other Footpath sign instructs the public that a particular footpath is unsafe. This type of construction site signage is often placed with a mandatory safety sign, which displays a related required action. This includes the No Pedestrians Allowed - You Must Use The Pedestrian Route Provided sign, which tells people not to wander into a certain area and directs them towards the correct and safe route.
A safe conditions sign relates to an action that should be taken in an emergency and uses a green rectangle with white lettering and/or images. This type of construction site signage provides visitors and employees with crucial information on what to do in the event of a fire or other emergency. As a result, safe conditions signs must be installed in such a way that they maintain maximum visibility. For example, fire exit signs should be placed on the shortest safe route to fire exits as close to eye-level as possible, effectively instructing people as to the correct way to evacuate the premises. Similarly to the above, safe conditions signs might also be accompanied by a mandatory action sign, including the Fire Exit - Keep Clear sign.
Fire safety equipment
Fire safety equipment signs are used to highlight the location and information regarding fire safety equipment. These signs use a red rectangle with white images or writing and are essential to ensuring fire safety equipment is readily accessible and easily identified, which is a requirement of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRFSO). For example, a fire extinguisher ID sign should be placed on each unit to show the type of fire extinguisher as well as the classes of fire the units can be used on.
Laws and regulations surrounding construction site health and safety signs
There are two key pieces of legislation concerning construction site signage that employers and site managers need to be aware of. Firstly, the Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996 (HSR) details the correct application, types and use of safety signs in construction, insisting that any risk or hazard must be highlighted by building site signs to protect employees and comply with standards. Secondly, for fire safety signs, the RRFSO reiterates the need for highly visible signage, while placing accountability on the ‘responsible person’ - the business or building owner - to ensure fire safety is implemented, maintained and evidenced.
How to determine what signs are needed on your construction site
You will need to conduct a risk assessment of your construction site before you can begin work, which will clarify the safety signs you need and where they should be located. By referencing the HSR, you can carry out a risk assessment to effectively identify the risks of your site before taking measures to remove or reduce the likelihood and impact of each. You must record any risks or actions taken from the assessment to provide evidence of adequate safety procedures. Any risks or hazards that cannot be removed need to be signed accordingly to minimise the risk of employees or visitors being injured. For example, if you identified loud noise as a potential risk to your workforce, but there is no way of reducing it while completing the project, then you would sign the appropriate area with warning and mandatory signs.
At UK Safety Store, we strive to offer you easy-to-understand guidance and leading, cost-effective construction safety signs so that your business can focus on what it does best. To learn more about construction signs, discover our guide to traffic and road work signage.
Darren Taylor, managing director of UK Safety Store
With over 30 years' experience in the manufacturing and regulations of safety signs, our managing director Darren prides himself on providing the very best services and insights for all UK Safety Store customers.