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Health and safety: Signs, posters and notices you must display at work

Last updated: 01 April 2022

Health and safety: Signs, posters and notices you must display at work

Posters, certificates, signs and notices must be displayed to comply with current health and safety law. Do you know which ones to display and where to get them from?

If you have employees by law you must either put up a Health and Safety Law poster or provide each employee with a leaflet on Health and Safety Law. You must also clearly display no-smoking signs at the entrance to your premises and in vehicles if used by more than one employee. You must also clearly display your certificate of employers’ liability insurance. You will need fire safety signs to indicate escape routes, fire extinguishers and to mark all exit doors in public places.

In addition you may have to put up safety signs to warn of specific risks and hazards (revealed in your health and safety risk assessment). Normally signs must be displayed if a hazard poses a significant risk that cannot be avoided or controlled by other means (eg by changing working practices), or where the sign will help further reduce this residual risk. If the risk is not significant there is no need to provide a sign.

Signs may be needed to prohibit actions such as no running, smoking etc. They may be used as warnings. For example for pipework containing dangerous substances, to warn of moving vehicles such as fork lift trucks, to tell people to wear helmets or ear or eye protection or to provide information – for example on the location of first aid signs. Signs must be explained (can be supplemented with text and symbols) and maintained properly.

Get advice from your local fire brigade’s safety officer, the Communities and Local government website and the Health and Safety Executive website. Buy signs from the HSE website –, or its enquiry line 01787 881165

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