The Australian Standard covering safety signs is AS1319-1994. This standard sets out requirements for the design and use of safety signs intended for use in work environments. The aim is to regulate and control safety related behaviour, to warn of hazards and to provide emergency information, including fire protection information. It specifies several sign classifications and layouts.

AS1319 does not specify a required material or nominal size for a safety sign but does stress that the type of safety sign used should be suitable for the intended application, and that employees should be informed of their purpose.

In locations where lighting is good and a safety sign is mounted in a reasonably prominent position, it is recommended that any symbols be at least 15mm per metre of viewing distance, and any uppercase text be at least 5mm per metre of viewing distance. This should be increased by at least 50% for poor lighting or viewing conditions. Where practical, safety signs should be mounted close to the observer's line of sight in the vertical plane.

Safety signs should be located against a contrasting background, and such that the possibility of it becoming obscured by stacked materials or other visual obstructions is minimised.

For maximum effectiveness, safety signs should be maintained in good condition, kept clean and well illuminated.

Prohibition Sign

Prohibition signs indicate that an action or activity is not permitted. Its designated symbolic shape is a red circle with a diagonal red slash through it. This is usually superimposed over a black pictograph, for example a cigarette, to indicate what specific activity is referred to. The background is white and any text is black.

Mandatory Sign

Mandatory signs indicate that an instruction must be carried out. Its symbolic shape is a blue circle. A white pictograph, for example safety goggles, is superimposed on this to indicate the activity which is to be mandatory. The background is white and any text is black.

Restriction Sign

Restriction signs place a numerical or other defined limit on an activity or use of a facility. Its symbolic shape is a red circle, but without the diagonal slash as in prohibition signs. This also would have a black pictograph or other legend inside the circle, a white background and any text in black. AS1319-1994 does not give any specific signs of this type, but notes that speed limit signs, as given in AS1742.1, are often encountered in the workplace.

Danger Sign

Danger signs warn of a particular hazard or hazardous condition that is likely to be life threatening. Its symbolic shape is the word DANGER in white on a red oval, which is surrounded by a black rectangle. This usually forms a heading for a white background on the sign. Alternatively, it may occupy the left side of a horizontal sign. Any text is in black. Typical text is 'HIGH VOLTAGE'.

Warning Sign

Warning signs warn of a hazard or hazardous condition that is not likely to be life-threatening. Its symbolic shape is a black triangle. A black pictograph usually appears inside the triangle to indicate the specific hazard. The sign background is yellow with any text in black. Typical text is 'FORKLIFTS HAZARD'.

Emergency Information Sign

Emergency information signs indicate the location of, or directions to, emergency related facilities such as exits, safety equipment or first aid facilities. The background is green and any text or pictograph is white.

Fire Sign

Fire signs advise the location of fire alarms and fire-fighting facilities. The background is red and any text or pictograph is white.

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