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Health and Safety Executive HSE Books

Health and Safety Executive HSE Books

Introduction 1 The Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996 (the Safety Signs Regulations) implement European Council Directive 92/58/EEC on minimum requirements for the provision of safety signs at work. This guidance is aimed at helping employers meet their responsibilities under these Regulations. The Directive standardises safety signs throughout member states of the European Union so that wherever a particular safety sign is seen it provides the same message. The intention is that workers who move from site to site, such as service engineers, will not be faced with different signs at different workplaces. The Directive and these Regulations require employers to provide safety signs where other methods, properly considered, cannot deal satisfactorily with the risks (see paragraph 11). They cover traditional safety signs, such as the well-known ‘no smoking sign’ and other means of communicating health and safety information, such as hand signals, acoustic signals (eg warning sirens on machines) and verbal communications. A free leaflet Signpost to the Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996,1 which is aimed at helping small businesses understand what is needed, is also available.


2 This publication consists of guidance (Parts 1–3) and the Regulations (Part 4). The signs are reproduced in full colour in paragraph 42. Part 1 ‘What the Regulations require’ covers safety signs in general; Part 2 ‘Using safety signs’ contains advice on their selection and use and explains the general requirements for the proper use of safety signs, including technical requirements (eg shape, colour etc) for different types of sign; Part 3 ‘Fire safety signs’ covers similar details for fire safety signs.


3 The Regulations appear in Part 4, showing in one place much of the detail in the European Directive (ie Annexes I–IX) now contained in the UK requirements (ie Parts I–IX of Schedule 1 of the Safety Signs Regulations).

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