Safety Signs And Symbols

Safety Signs And Symbols

Educating children about the potential hazards have become important today. Therefore, read this article to find out more about safety signs.
WellnessKeen Staff
There are a multitude of things we encounter everyday which can put us in harm's way. We have heard several times that safety comes first, but the problem is how to comprehend the signs of danger and avert it. When you walk on a road which is under construction or being renovated, you often see a big signboard displaying the words - 'Men At Work', and then you swear at your luck and seek other ways to reach your destination. But what if instead of those three words, you just see a board displaying a yellow triangle with an exclamation symbol, and you don't know what it means.

For the sake of your own safety, you need to be well-versed with the safety symbols. Here's a small account of the popular symbols which are standardized and recognizable signs, used by both government and private institutions.
Danger Symbol
Danger Symbol
Most of us do know the most popular danger symbol where a skull and two crossbones are depicted. You can find this symbol on high voltage electrical objects, and on bottles of poisons and other toxic materials. Some cigarette packs also carry this symbol on the wrapper along with the statutory warning, 'Smoking is Injurious to Health'. This symbol was also used by pirates in their flags throughout history. Due to concerns that this sign might interest little children to play with materials portraying it, some institutions in United States prefer to have Mr. Yuk symbol on poisons for warning.
Biohazard Symbol
Biohazard Symbol
The biohazard symbol has been developed after a lot of research by Dow Chemical Company. They designed this sign in order to inform people about their containment products. The biohazard symbol is usually in bright orange color which is visible from a far off distance and has an unusual shape. This symbol point outs substances that are biological in nature and are dangerous to humans. It includes medical waste, microorganisms, toxins etc. It is used in labs, hospitals and other places where they have to deal with used medical equipment.
Radioactive Symbol
Radioactive Symbol
The government uses a radiation symbol which consists of a circle with three blades emerging from it. This sign was designed in University of California Radiation Laboratory by an unspecified group. Originally, this sign had blue background but over time, yellow became the standardized color in it. It has been said that the three sixty degree arc depicted in this symbol represents the radiation waves of an atom. However, this speculation was never validated.
High Voltage Symbol
High Voltage Symbol
The high voltage symbol depicts a lightning symbol and implies the risk of electric shock. Its background is usually yellow or orange which is visible even from a long distance. It mainly refers to electrical circuits which can be dangerous to human beings if touched accidentally or without proper gear. If a human being touches any surface which conducting 50 V or more voltage without adequate insulation, then it can result in heart fibrillation and could also be fatal.
Fire Extinguisher Symbol
Fire Extinguisher Symbol
There are numerous fire extinguisher symbols, as there is no standardization for this sign yet. But most of such signs show a fire extinguisher and fire symbol which is easily recognizable by anyone. Generally, this symbol reveals the location of the fire extinguisher. In a fire hazard situation, the act of locating the fire extinguisher can draw the difference between a crisis averted and a fire mishap. This symbol helps in promptly finding the extinguisher which is a must for fire safety.
Caution Symbol
Caution Symbol
The caution symbol is used for road safety which indicates a danger ahead. This danger might not be apparent to the driver, hence reading and understanding this sign is critical. The warning symbol usually consists of a yellow background with a black exclamation mark on it. It is sign that indicates low-level risk. However, ignoring it could lead to minor or moderate injuries. It is also used as an alert sign and encourages people to be on their guard and to practice safety protocols.
Harmful Material Symbol
Harmful Material Symbol
Be it a radioactive material or highly combustible material, while transporting these materials the transporter must have a harmful material symbol on his vehicle. Symbols of corrosion, fire and skull are made on dangerous goods to signal, 'keep a safe distance' warning. There are different types of such symbols to indicate the nature of the dangerous material. For instance, corrosive material symbol show liquids drops from two tubes falling on a human hand and metal. It represents the corrosion of the metal and asks people to keep away from it. Other dangerous goods like explosives carry a sign with an image of a detonation drawn on it. Combustible products are pictured by a sign of fire, while non-combustible gas is pointed out with the help of cylinder pictogram.
Wet Floor Symbol
Wet Floor Symbol
Even though this sign might not seem too important, the statistics of day-to-day accidents tell us something differently. Slip and fall accidents have become a nightmare for insurance companies. However, injuries occurred due to such accidents can also be lethal. Therefore, most companies, institutions and property owners use wet floor signs to request people to walk cautiously and slowly in order to prevent any mishap. Usually, this sign contains a pictogram of a man falling on the floor.
Seat Belt Symbol
Seat Belt Symbol
Wearing a seat belt is a must while driving or traveling in the airlines or buses. During air travel, turbulence is a major cause of injuries. However, such minor accidents can be prevented by the use of seat belt while sitting. Therefore, seat belt symbol is utilized by transportation companies to remind people to make use of seat belts. This sign shows a man sitting with the seat belt on. Another seat belt sign which is widely used is the symbol of seat belt in yellow background. It intends to tell the air traveler to fasten the seat belt.
Steps Ahead Symbol
Steps Ahead Symbol
These signs are used when the floor is uneven or irregular. Some small steps are not that easy to see if someone is in a hurry or not paying attention. Such signs can make all the difference to the pedestrians and can warn them beforehand of possible risks. There are various types of step or staircase signs, each stating a different warning. For example, the step up sign shows a pictogram of man climbing a step, whereas step down sign depicts a man descending from the stairs.
Asbestos Safety Symbol
Asbestos Safety Symbol
Asbestos is a mineral which is known to cause lung cancer and asbestosis. An asbestos warning sign helps people to avoid breathing in particles of asbestos. Even though the danger of asbestos is not visible to the naked eye, the long-term effect can be detrimental to an individual's health. That's why, its best to prepare people from accident exposure. This sign does exactly that. It warns people about asbestos containing materials that are present in the vicinity.
Overhead Crane Symbol
Overhead Crane Symbol
At construction sites, this sign is quite popular which indicates the potential dangers like goods falling from a crane while hoisting. It cautions people to be alert and equipped for such risky situation. Helmet is a must have for such places.
Hot Surface Symbol
Hot Surface Symbol
This sign states "do not touch". It has a pictogram which has a hand touching the heat waves emitting from a surface. It act as a constant reminder to workers employed in manufacturing or welding industries to exercise caution while handling hot equipment. This sign is used in many countries and prevents accidents at workplace.
Welding Mask Symbol
Welding Mask Symbol
This sign is used in welding areas and imposes the mandatory rule of wearing welding mask, thereby keeping workers safe. It is regulated by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). Welding workers are always at risk from sparks along with glares and flashes. However, even people watching the arc are equally in danger. This sign acts as warning and alerts the visitors of potential hazards.
Hot Water Symbol
Hot Water Symbol
This sign is used near sinks, washrooms and factory settings to warn people about the potential hazard of scalding. Another sign which is commonly used to indicate hot water is caution symbol with appropriate lettering. Care facilities are generally advised to identify and warn residents as well as visitors about hot water dangers.
Be aware of the safety regulations as most of the mishaps at workplace can be triggered due to negligence or unsystematic safety procedures. Therefore, keep your workplace devoid of any clutter and allocate places for storing and keeping stuff. Flammable or harmful materials should be carefully stored and all the safety protocols should be maintained. Have seminars or safety drills to educate the employees on safety precautions. At workplace or anywhere else, you might come across them. Therefore, you should be cautious when you spot these signs.