Warning Signs

It seems that everywhere you go on the Ohio State Columbus campus you see and read signs that warn about a variety of hazards. Just as warning signs vary on topics, so do their colors.  Students, faculty, and staff may find the color variations of these signs confusing at times. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has recommendations for the color and wording of signs contained in Standard #1910.145.  Here are OSHA’s recommendations for the color of signs:

  • Red = Danger. OSHA recommends danger signs or tags be red or predominantly red, with lettering or symbols in a contrasting color (usually white against the red background). Red warns of a hazard that could cause serious injury or death.
  • Yellow = Caution. These signs and tags are all yellow or predominantly yellow, with lettering or symbols in a contrasting color (usually black). Yellow often is used for signs that indicate physical dangers that could cause serious injuries, such as slipping, tripping, falling, striking against, and pinch hazards.
  • various warning signsOrange = Warning. These orange or predominantly orange signs and tags generally have black lettering or symbols. Orange often is used for potentially dangerous parts of machinery or equipment that may cut, crush, shock, or otherwise injure a person.
  • Fluorescent Orange or Orange-Red = Biological Hazard. These signs and tags have lettering or symbols in a contrasting color (usually black). This color designates infectious agents and wastes that pose a risk of death, injury, or illness.
  • Green = Safety Instructions. These signs usually have white lettering against the green background. Some part of the sign also may contain black lettering against a white background. Green is used to designate first aid equipment, emergency eyewash stations, etc.
  • Fluorescent Yellow-Orange = Slow-Moving Vehicles. This color is used, with a dark red reflective border, on slow-moving vehicle triangles.

If you have questions regarding signage, please contact EHS at 614-292-1284.