OSHA and ANSI Safety Signs
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Published on May 19, 2022
Using a standardized safety color system is an important part of an effective safety program. Safety colors are visual markers that can help keep employees safe in the workplace. These colors may appear on machines, signs or materials to indicate hazards. When professionals see these colors, they can quickly understand the meaning.

There are two organizations that are responsible for creating standard safety colors. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety color system focuses mainly on physical hazards in the workplaces, such as fire or fall hazards. The colors red and yellow are used to show different levels of hazards.

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) safety color system uses additional colors to further improve workplace safety. Many organizations use a combination of both types of safety color systems to help keep their teams safe.

The following are OSHA and ANSI standard safety colors you may see in the workplace:

Red Safety Signs: Danger

Red signs are used to indicate an immediate hazardous situation which, if not avoided, has a high probability of resulting in death or serious injury. Red color-coded signs are also used to denote fire protection equipment or apparatus, containers of flammable liquids and stop buttons or switches.

Orange Safety Signs: Warning

Signs that are orange indicate a potentially hazardous situation which, if not avoided, could result in death or serious injury. Orange signs are used to mark dangerous parts of machines or equipment that may cut, crush, shock or injure someone.

Yellow Safety Signs: Caution

Yellow caution signs are used to indicate physical hazardous situations which, if not avoided, could result in minor or moderate injury, but not death. Specific physical hazards including falling, tripping, and striking and designating caution.

Blue Safety Signs: Notice

Signs that are blue relate non-hazard safety practices such as security, repairs and property policies. They are used to provide general information to avoid confusion.

Green Safety Signs: Instruction

Green signage is used to represent safety items. These can include safety first-aid materials and important safety tools. For example, companies can mark eyewash stations and emergency showers with green signs to help employees find the areas quickly.

Purple Safety Signs: Radiation

Purple is used on safety signage to indicate a radiation hazard. Purple is often combined with yellow to remind employees to use caution when working in areas with radiation. This color sign is most commonly used in medical and manufacturing fields.

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