Four “Must Know” OSHA Safety Sign Headers

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Accidents can strike anywhere, but more likely in places where hazards are ever present. Hence, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires the use of safety signs to warn workers about hazards in the workplace, more importantly in heavy-duty work zones such as mines and construction sites or where radio frequency energy may be present.

RF hazard “Notice” sign posted at entrance to a wireless site.

RF hazard “Notice” sign posted at entrance to a wireless site.

To ensure that the safety messages on these signs are effectively communicated – and to standardize warnings across all workplaces – OSHA mandates the use of the following safety headers:

  • Danger – Danger sign headers are in red, black and white. The Danger header is probably the most serious header of all four because it warns workers of immediate hazards that can either kill or severely maim them. Some examples of signs that use this kind of a header include “Confined Space” signs or “High Voltage” warnings.Since this header is only used for safety signs that warn about the most hazardous situations in your facility, you must only use it as such to prevent diminishing the impact of the sign. After all, if your facility is peppered with Danger signs, then people might just get used to them and start ignoring them, which can be very dangerous.
  • Warning – Warning sign header colors are orange and black. If you need to warn workers about perilous situations and a Danger sign is too severe, you can use a Warning sign instead. This header is designed for use on safety signs that notify people about situations that can result in severe injury or death.
  • Caution – Caution sign headers are in yellow and black. If a Warning sign is still too severe, you can use a Caution sign instead. It is used for potentially hazardous situations that can either result in minor to moderate injury.
  • Notice – Notice sign headers are white and blue. These headers are used for safety signs that are about general safety regulations in a facility, such as “Keep This Door Closed” or “Do Not Block Door.”

Some safety signs may have the same messages but have different headers. One good example is the “No Smoking” Sign, which is available with either Danger or Notice headers. It all depends again on the situation you are going to use it for.

For example, a Danger “No Smoking” sign should be used when you need to ban smoking in an area near hazardous and highly flammable materials that can be easily ignited by a lit cigarette or even an ember. The Notice variant of this sign is good for use in an area that you just want to keep smoke-free. An example of such is a building lobby, where the reason for the sign is to keep the area free of cigarette smoke and the chances that the lit cigarette will burn something is substantially smaller.

An instance of a specialty sign use is to mark the several levels of hazard awareness around cellular and wireless sites. These requirements are best conveyed through tutorials. One can learn the proper use of RF hazard signage and safe RF work practices in the LBA University on-line OSHA RF Awareness course, for example.

Whatever the subject, apart from these standard headers, OSHA signs also have to conform to the ANSI Z535.2-2002 standards when it comes to the size of the sign and font type. Before buying anything, check these regulations outto ensure you’re buying the right OSHA- and ANSI-compliant safety sign for your facility.


About LBA University: LBA University offers an array of on-site and on-line OSHA safety courses. You can consult its catalog at http://www.lbagroup.com/lba-university. Instructor-led classes are offered at LBA’s campus in Greenville, NC or can be brought to any location across the U.S.  Classes are customized to focus on the specific topics relevant to each business or work site. Keep up with LBA safety blogs at http://www.lbagroup.com/blog/ and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LBAGroup.


About the AuthorHazel Evangelista is a writer, reader, and part-time sun-worshipper. She’s been writing about safety and security lately, and you can find more of her work at Emedco’s Blog. If not busy at work, she’s busy with life – climbing mountains, surfing waves, or lazing by the beach with a good book in hand.

One Comment on "Four “Must Know” OSHA Safety Sign Headers"

  1. Mary Gene Ryan, MPH, RN, COHN-S/SM, CSP, FAAOHN Bob Hanshaw May 8, 2013 at 9:09 am · Reply

    With the Revised Hazard Communication Standard signage will need to be changed and “caution” signs will be deleted per the new chemical labeling and classification. ln

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

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