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Danger safety sign direct printed on aluminum material - Front signs

Quiz: The Language of Safety Signs

Understanding safety signs is vital for us. These signs provide information about possible danger or hazard. In fact, there are 3 main elements in every sign. These elements are the shape, color and the image on it. In order to understand the language of safety signs, you should understand these 3 factors.

Safety signs are made using semioticsthe science of how colors, shapes and text affect human brains. Each type of signs has a certain color, shape and text.

The categories of safety signs

Safety signs for emergency

There are 4 categories of safety signs. Let’s find what these types convey.

     1. Emergency and first-aid signs

These signs give information about emergency exits, first aid, or rescue capabilities. Fire signs also fall into the category of emergency signs. In case of fire, these signs provide information about emergency exits. Also, fire signs indicate the place of a fire extinguisher.

     2. Mandatory signs 

Тhese types of safety signs direct us to take a certain action. Just like in the second picture, which shows that a safety musk must be worn.

     3. Prohibition signs 

Тhese signs caution us against doing something which might be dangerous in the given circumstances. As shown in the third picture, it is prohibited to walk there.

     4. Hazard signs 

Тhese signs warn us that there is a chance of danger. There are various hazard signs, for instance, electric risk signs, radiation risk etc.

The shapes of safety signs

You’ve probably noticed that each type of safety signs has a certain shape. This makes the sign recognizable without even seeing the pictogram on it.

Triangle – Warning signs

Round red – Prohibition signs

Round blue – Mandatory signs

Square and rectangular – Emergency signs

But what about the colors of safety signs?

red colored sign with HQ materials

Have you ever wondered why prohibition signs are red? Well, there is a reason for that.

Our eyes are most sensitive to red, so it is the first color we notice. And it is the only color that can be seen through fog and rain.

Red is the color of blood and burning objects, so when we see red our brain alerts us about a danger.

The red should take up at least 35% of the sign.

blue safety signs with colored printings

Signs with mandatory information are in blue color with white pictogram on it.

As blue is connected with wisdom, power and intelligence that is why mandatory signs are blue.

The blue should take up at least 50% of the sign.

yellow colored signs with colored printings

This is the color of warning signs. Which is again one of the colors that our eyes will easily notice.

It draws attention and warns of a potential hazard.

The yellow should take up at least 50% of the sign.

green colored sign with aluminum material

Green is the color of emergency signs. It associates with peace and nature.

Green is a less interfering color which blends easily with the surrounding. But at the same time can be easily noticed. The text color of the green signs is white. As it is the best combination to make the text easily readable.

The green should take up at least 50% of the sign.

Let’s see how well you know the meaning of each sign.

Before scrolling down to the answers try guessing what each of these signs means. (Find the answers below for every set of signs).

You can write down your answers and then compare the results.

First, let’s see how many hazards and emergency signs you know.

health and emergency signs

So how do you think you did?

Ok, let’s get to the answers.


  1. The first one warns us that there is an overhead load
  2. Warns that there are industrial vehicles driving around
  3. This sign warns that there is an electricity danger
  4. This one is a non-ionizing radiation sign
  5. Indicates an emergency exit direction
  6. And this one is an emergency stretcher sign
  7. This is a fire helmet alert
  8. An emergency fire ladder alert

And what about mandatory and prohibition signs?

Mandatory signs with aluminum printings

Probably the prohibition signs were the easiest ones to guess, as you see these signs pretty often.


  1.  Indicating that a safety helmet should be worn
    10. Informs that you need to wear eye protection
    11. Shows that you should wear a face protection
    12. No food is allowed sign
    13. No smoking sign
    14. You’re not allowed to take pictures


How many did you get right? If you didn’t get much, don’t worry you can learn them now.

Hopefully, now you are more aware of safety signs.

Maybe after reading about safety signs, you will get curious about traffic signs as well. If so you can read our blog “The difference between road signs around the world”.

Leave a comment

  • vagnadepsa

    The problem is that people no longer take responsibility for their actions.
    There must always be someone else they can blame for what they do to themselves…
    so they sue.

  • Sunil Kumar

    Good post on warning signs. Electrical signs are much better because they are brighter. Was good to read about safety signs post because we are in this field and was very useful.

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