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SAFETY SIGNS

Safety signs are designed based on safety colors, contrast and geomet-
ric shapes determined by ICONTEC rules:
• NTC Colombian Technical Standards 1461: Health and Safety. Colors
and Safety Signs
• NTC 1931: Fire Protection
• ISO 3864-1 Part 1: Principles of Design Safety Signs Workplace and
public areas and ISO 16069: Signaling Systems evacuation routes

Every work activity can generate risks of accidents or occupational


diseases. That is why a system of signs and symbols was established
in order to communicate clear messages, easy to understand for the
community.

This system of signs has been created to call worker’s attention to any
dangerous situation. Also, they allow to identify areas of work and to
promote the order of organizations. It can be also used to indicate the
location of devices and safety equipment.

Let’s see the NTC Colombian


Technical Standards 1461:
Health, safety colors and
safety signs.

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Safety colors

The purpose of colors and safety signs is to call the attention to ob-
jects or situations that affect community’s safety and health. The next
table shows the meaning of colors (look table 1):

prohibition

Control

condition

Table 1. Meaning of color in safety signs

Contrasting colors

It is necessary to use contrast colors in safety signs. In the table, we see


the most common contrast used:

Appropriate contrasting
Safety color
color

Table 2. Contrasting colors

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Geometric forms and meaning of safety signs

Safety signs are conformed by


geometrical forms. Let’s see
them in the next table:

GEOMETRIC FORM MEANING

Prohibition or control action

Prevention

Information (including
instruction)

Table 3. Meaning of geometrical forms in safety signs

Classification of safety sign according to the color

In the next table, we’ll see the classification of safety signs:

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SIGN USES

PROHIBITION SIGNS

It is recommended that the red


color covers at least 35% of the
signal area.
ACTION CONTROL
SIGNALS

The blue color covers at least


50% of signal area.
SIGNS OF PREVENTION

It is recommended that the


yellow color covers at least 50%
of signal area.

SIGNS OF INFORMATION
CONCERNING SAFE
CONDITIONS

The green color should cover at


least 50% of signal area.

Table 4. Classification of safety signs

Base color: color of the safety signal


Text color: corresponding contrasting color

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There are countries where safety and prohibition signs are yellow in- stead
of white.

Now, we’ll study the signs for


fire protection, according to the
NTC 1931.

NTC 1931: FIRE PROTECTION

This regulation specifies safety signs for fire protection (see table 6).
SIGNAL MEANING SHAPE AND COMMENTS ON
COLOR USE
Manual activation Square signal, red It is used to indi-
device background, white cate a fire alarm
symbol or manual control
of a protection
system (e.g. fire
extinguisher).

It can be used
Sound AlarmS quare or rectan- alone or together
gular signal, red with the number
background, white 1. If the alarm is
symbol activated, a signal
is immediately
perceptible by the
occupants.

Phone for emer- Square or rectan- It indicates or


gency use gular signal, red shows the location
background, white of an available
symbol phone to call in an
emergency.

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Emergency ExitS quare or rectan- It can be used to
gular sign, green indicate all exits
background, white used in case of
symbol emergency. Must
Background be accompanied
by an arrow. This
arrow can indicate
to the right or left.

Do not block rectangular sign It is used in situa-


White back- tions where the
ground, black obstruction might
symbol, circular represent a parti-
and oblique red cular danger
bands (escape routes,
emergency exits)

Press to open Square or rectan- It should be


gular sign, green placed on a door
background, white to indicate the
symbol direction of ope-
ning.

Break to access Square or rectan- This signal can be


gular sign, green used when brea-
background, white king a panel is
symbol needed.

Pull to open Square or rectan- This signal must


gular sign, green be placed to indi-
background, white cate a door ope-
symbol. ning direction.

You can find the rules in Spanish in the following site:


http://sociedadderiesgo.wikispaces.com/file/view/35902929-Norma-icontec- NTC-1461-
HIGIENE-Y-SEGURIDAD-COLORES-Y-SENALES-DE-SEGURI-
DAD.pdf

Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje - SENA. Reservados todos los derechos 2013.