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Guidelines for Coding of PPE Warning Signs

Warning signs on a doorYour workplace should ideally be a safe working environment. Many operations, however, involve some risk. These risks call for measures to prevent employee illness and accidents.

You cannot overlook the value of warning signs in these circumstances. PPE warning signs indicate or remind employees of the need for personal protective equipment in certain situations. Here are some guidelines on coding for warning signs.


The color of your warning sign determines how workers will approach or respond to a particular situation. The color that experts use for warning signs denotes the type of hazard and the appropriate PPE. Red indicates stop, danger, or fire; orange signifies a warning. Yellow indicates caution, as green signifies safety. Blue is available for safety information signs.

Symbols and Shapes

Specific symbols denote particular meanings. For hazards, specialists make use of diamond or triangular signs and yellow or orange are typically the colors they have. Circular signs, often blue, inform workers that it is mandatory to wear PPE. Rectangular and square symbols convey information like the location of PPE and are typically green. Circular signs with a slash from the upper left side to the lower right indicate prohibitions.


Most OSHA regulations require signs to be in English. With increasing diversity in the workplace, however, it is wise to include other languages. A language barrier might be the most significant contributor to workplace injury for workers who do not comprehend English.

When practical, you can use a combination of words and symbols to convey your message. There are three categories of signs used here. One-panel signs use either graphics or words. Two-panel ones have either graphics and words or one keyword in small or large letters. Three-panel signs have a large-lettered keyword, graphics, and additional smaller-lettered words. The usage of colors and symbols should be consistent throughout your facility to avoid confusion.

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  • Posted on November 30, 2017