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What color should warning signs be?

When there are clear and known hazards in a work space or a public space, such as a grocery store, those who own the space are supposed to put up warning signs to protect anyone in the area. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has established some guidelines for how these signs should appear, including intended colors for different types of signs.

One of the most common examples is a wet floor sign. It's generally going to be yellow, with black writing. This makes it highly visible and easy to read. Below is the full list of color classifications according to ANSI:

  • Red: Signs warning about fire, danger or emergencies, telling people to stop immediately.
  • Yellow: Signs warning of physical dangers and caution signs.
  • Orange: Signs warning of electrical hazards or machine-related dangers.
  • Green: Signs regarding safety equipment. The only exception is firefighting equipment.
  • Purple: Signs warning of a radiation hazard.
  • Blue: Signs providing useful safety information.

To some degree, the color designations are based on the level of risk. Red signs are the most eye-catching and are also used for immediate and possibly life-threatening dangers. Blue signs blend in more, but they don't warn of a threat in such close proximity, just providing more general assistance. Purple signs are the least common, but they also warn of a high level of risk that could be fatal.

Were you injured on someone else's property in a way that could have easily been avoided with the right signage, but none was posted? If so, it's important that you know what legal options are open to you.

Source: Society Insurance, "5 Considerations for Effective Wet Floor Signs," accessed Dec. 22, 2017

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