WARNING!! All Safety Signs in your building need to comply with legal requirements. All Safety Signs are also required to be framed in a non-combustible material such as aluminium, and mechanically fastened to walls with a screw and plug type fixing.
Do you ever take note of the signage around your every day environment? Often these safety signs become so familiar that they are ignored and their necessity is disregarded. Ignoring the value of safety signs is a large mistake as it plays an imperative role in ensuring the safety and well being of the occupants in a building.
Purpose and use:
It has become a legal requirement that safety signs are SABS approved. All safety signs must bear the SABS mark to comply with Fire/Safety Regulations (SA Building Regulations SABS 1186-5). The use of cheap imitations or incorrect fixing methods will result in insurance companies not honouring claims, furthermore this can lead to tenants/ owners being held criminally liable, for injuries or death, by staff or the public. These safety signs are photoluminescent and convey information to the building’s occupants, supply directions, identification, information, orientation, warnings, regulations and restrictions so that occupants do not endanger themselves. Considering the value of safety signage, it is evident that these signs should be placed in all public places such as schools, hospitals, restaurants, shops and offices irrespective of the establishment’s size. Safety Signs play a critical role in the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the National Building Regulation.
There are four categories of safety signage represented by different standardised colours and shapes which serve different functions.
Warning signs are safety signs usually containing a black symbol with a yellow background inside a black triangle.
Prohibition signs are safety signs with a black symbol and a white background in a red circle with a red diagonal line across the circle. An examples of this type of sign is a ‘no naked flame’ sign.
Mandatory signs are safety signs with a white symbol in a blue circle. These signs illustrate compulsory information such as ‘eye protection’ or ‘head protection’ signs, advising occupants entering a certain area what to wear.
Emergency signs are usually safety signs with a white symbol on a green background. The “exit’ sign and the ‘green arrow’ are examples of such signs.
SABS approved safety signs are produced in photoluminescent material (glow in the dark material). These signs absorb and store energy from light sources such as fluorescent lighting, incandescent lighting or sunlight. The benefit that photoluminescent signs have over other materials is that in the event of a power failure or smoke caused by a fire, SABS approved signs will glow for a at least 5 hours and 40 minutes ensuring occupants of the building can see the exits. Although this time frame may seem excessive, the length of time affects the initial brightness of the sign in a blackout or smoke filled situation regardless if backup power is present.
SABS required frames:
Another important feature, required for safety signage to be compliant with the law, is the use of aluminium frames. All safety signs are required to be displayed in a frame and mechanically fastened to walls using corrosion protected nuts, bolts and washers. (SA Building Regulation SABS 10400). No double sided tape or silicon glue may be used.
It is evident that signage is used in many buildings and that it’s role is a vital part of ensuring the safety of any building’s occupants. The importance of safety signage in every day life creates a large demand for an extensive range of signs that adhere to legal requirements and bear the SABS mark. This therefore creates an opportunity for retailers to satisfy this demand. SABS approved safety signage is found in leading hardware stores.