Importance of signaling occupational hazards

In previous posts we mentioned what is and the importance of risk analysis, now after its identification we can begin to establish parameters to reduce or avoid them altogether.

Remember that forecasting is an essential part of the planning process and minimizes the risks associated with a work area. A form of prevention is delimiting the area with some type of safety signage.

In our daily life we ​​can visualize all types of land, sea, air and production safety signages. In situations of danger, it is convenient for every individual to receive certain information related to safety, their objective is to avoid chaos and accidents of any kind.

According to the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs of Spain in Royal Decree 485/1997 on minimum provisions in terms of occupational safety and health signage, it states that safety signage is one that provides an indication regarding the safety of persons and / or goods. Occupational health and safety signs should be used whenever the analysis of existing risks, foreseeable emergency situations and preventive measures taken, highlights the need to:

  • Catch the attention of workers to the existence of certain risks, prohibitions or obligations.
  • Alert workers when a certain emergency occurs that requires urgent measures of protection or evacuation.
  • Provide workers with the location and identification of certain means or facilities for protection, evacuation, emergency or first aid.
  • Provide guidance to workers who perform certain dangerous maneuvers.

Similarly, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs of Spain indicates the classes or types of safety signs:

Types of safety signage

According to the meaning of the signal:
  • Prohibition: prohibits behavior that may lead to danger.
  • Obligation: signal that forces a specific behavior.
  • Warning: warns of a risk or danger.
  • Rescue or relief: indication regarding distress or first aid outlets, or rescue devices.
  • Indicative: provides information other than those indicated above.


According to the characteristics of the signals:
  • Signal in the form of a panel: a signal that, by combining a geometric shape, colors and a symbol or pictogram, provides certain information, whose visibility is ensured by lighting of enough intensity.
  • Luminous signal: signal emitted by means of a device formed by transparent or translucent materials, illuminated from behind or from the inside in such a way that it appears on its own as a luminous surface.
  • Acoustic signal: sound signal encoded and emitted and disseminated by means of an appropriate device, without intervention of human or synthetic voice.
  • Gestural signal: a movement or arrangement of the arms or hands in a coded way to guide people who are performing maneuvers that constitute a risk or danger to workers.
  • Additional signal: a signal used together with another signal of the characteristics of those used in the form of a panel and that provides additional information.


The purpose of signaling is to draw attention to risk situations in a way to avoid but does not replace preventive measures.

Source: Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs of Spain