Understanding Safety Colours and Signs Standards in India
18 July 2018
The purpose of safety colurs and safety signs is to draw attention rapidly to objects and situations affecting safety and health and to gain rapid understanding of a specific message.
The use of symbols and graphical signs is a simple safety device used to convey safety messages at a glance. Colours and logos correctly used can offer information and warnings of hazards which might be vital to safety at work, and in some times may be independent of language.
Bureau of India Standards (BIS) has published many standards towards health safety and security. In IS 9457, it has laid out standards to prescribe the safety identification colours and design principles for safety signs to be used in workplaces and in public areas for the purpose of accidental prevention, fire protection, health hazard information and emergency evacuation.
Let us try to understand the meaning of colours used in safety signs.
What are safety colours?
There are four safety colours:
In Prohibition signage the red safety colour should cover at least 35% of the total area.
In Mandatory signage the blue colour shall should cover at least 50% of the total area.
A signboard is a aggregate of form, colour and symbol or pictogram made seen through good enough lighting and which can also have supplementary text.
Red colour is used in prohibition sign or as a danger alarm. It indicates dangerous behaviour or instructions to stop or shutdown or emergency exit.
Prohbition signage has white background with black pictogram with red edges, may have red diagonal line. Red part should cover at least 35% of the total area.
Red colour is also used for fire figthing equipments. It is used to identification and location purpose. In general signage are rectangular or square in shape with red background and white pitcogram.
Yellow is used in warning signage. Its purpose is to take necessary instructions or be careful. For example o indiacate danger hot surface or acid. Signage has yellow equilateral triangle with necessary pictogram.
Supplementary signs usually have yellow colour background.
Green indicates safe conditions like means or escape or safey equipment. For example "Fire:Exit" signage.
Signage with green colour are either rectangular or square in shape with necessary pictogram.
Blue is used in mandtaory signage e.g. to wear personal protective gear or equipment.
White is often used in supplementary signage. It carries pictogram (may be black or any contrast colour) to reflect message given by the pictogram.
An international standard ISO 7010 have been introduced for safety signs. However, the basic principles of understanding safety symbols and colours have remained the same with small changes in symbols and icons.