Understanding workplace safety signs and their meanings, and having the right signs in place are crucial parts of the workplace safety equation. So too is having appropriate safety procedures.
However, that’s not the only thing that goes into ensuring that your workplace is safe.
Don’t get us wrong – safety signs and dangerous goods labels are super important.
Just as important however is ensuring that all parts of your safety plan are up-to-scratch and working as intended.
That means keeping first-aid kits stocked, replacing old fire extinguishers and of course, testing your emergency lights and exit signs.
Today, our signage and safety experts explain why, as well as how you can ensure everything is in working order and that your workers are safe!
Do I need emergency exit lights and signs?
According to the Building Code of Australia (BCA), there are specific circumstances where emergency exit lights and signs are mandatory:
- In any rooms that exceed 300m2
- If exit doors lead to areas that are poorly lit
- When it’s a fire-isolated exit, ramp or staircase
- If yours is a class 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9 building
- In pathways that lead
Even if your business doesn’t meet all of these criteria, we strongly suggest getting emergency exit signs installed anyway!
When we say emergency exit signs, we aren’t just talking about aisle lights, either – emergency exit signs are a broad category, and include a wide range of luminous signs.
Do you have exit signs in your building? You know the little green signs with a walking figure and an arrow that show people where the exits are?
Thanks to their light-up nature, these are classified as exit lights, not exit signs. Australian standards (AS 2293.1 to be more precise) go even further, and classify these signs are classified as light fittings.
And as light fittings, they also need to adhere to a whole other host of standards for safe installation and testing.
We know, it sounds like an awful lot of work for something that’s essentially a sign.
Take it from us however – you can’t get away with using a regular old sign for this purpose!
For starters, these exit signs light up in order to help people find their way out – a potential lifesaver when factors like vision-obscuring smoke are taken into consideration.
Not to mention, it’s illegal (see the rules listed above).
Myth: exit signs only light up when there is an emergency
We can confidently bust this myth wide open for you.
There are two different kinds of emergency exit lighting:
- Maintained systems
- Non-maintained systems
Most people use the first type – if you don’t we strongly recommend getting your workplace refitted with them!
Essentially, this means these lights are always on 24/7 – all your exit lights and signs will be lit up even when there’s no emergency.
In the event of a power outage or an emergency that affects the lighting in the building, the signs will automatically switch from the main power system to backup battery power.
By contrast, non-maintained systems will only light up in an emergency – this is where the myth comes from.
Testing your emergency exit signs
AS 2293.1 mandates that all emergency exit signs be tested every 6 months. Luckily for you, it’s easy to do this on your own!
Each emergency light needs to have enough battery power on-hand to provide 90-minutes worth of illumination. Thankfully, most exit lights have a test button that you can push to find out if the battery is still providing power.
This is especially important if your workplace uses non-maintained systems. You’ll want to test these types of lights even more frequently to ensure they still work.
To test your lights and signs, you’ll want to press and hold this button for at least thirty seconds.
The sign will disconnect from the main power source (your electrical circuits) and fall back to its internal battery.
We suggest setting a timer for 90 minutes and checking if it’s still illuminated afterwards.
Have a lot of signs that need testing? Don’t have time to do it on your own? Your local sparkie can help by performing what’s called a circuit-breaker test.
What about emergency signs?
Despite the similar-sounding names, these are two completely different things, with different roles to play in the safety equation.
By contrast, emergency signs don’t light up – that’s the difference, plain and simple.
As such, they’re no substitute for emergency lights – however, there are some advantages to this, of course. For starters, you won’t ever have to worry about wiring or power supply!
What’s more, there’s a much wider variety of options for safety signs.
Signsmart’s range of emergency signs
Now, we know you hear us talk about this a lot but there’s a good reason for that.
While not a replacement for emergency lights, emergency signs have a vital supporting role in workplace safety!
For starters, safety signs can mean much more than just emergency exits – at Signsmart, we produce emergency signs for a range of different purposes.
Take fire service signs, for example. We produce signs that:
- Highlight fire extinguishers and alarms
- Identify different types of fire extinguisher (gas fires, electrical fires, etc)
- Help locate fire hoses and hydrants
- Identify emergency gathering points
Need additional signs? Signsmart also produces luminous signs.
Think of these as the midway point between emergency lights and emergency signs.
Made of glow-in-the-dark material, these signs are an affordable way to direct visitors and guests to the nearest exit.
When combined with emergency lights that adhere to Australian standards, you can ensure everyone knows where to go in an emergency, no matter where they are in your property.
Confused? We’ll explain safety signs and their meanings, as well as how you can use them
As Australia’s leading provider of safety signs and meanings, we often see people using signs that aren’t quite right.
Their signs aren’t wrong but there are definitely more appropriate safety signs they could be using.
This happens because there are so many different types of safety signs and we see people getting confused a lot.
What’s more, there are a surprising number of legal requirements that come with workplace safety signs.
Confused? That’s why we recommend our customers consult one of our safety sign experts before making a purchase
Shop workplace safety signs with Signsmart
Our team has been providing the appropriate safety signs meanings to our customers since the 90s.
In addition to standard workplace safety signs (including emergency signs), we provide high-quality, custom safety signs that we create to the needs and specifications of our customers.
No matter what you need, we can supply it:
Best of all, we work fast – in many cases, we’re able to get safety signs to clients by the next day, ensuring that you won’t go long without the mandatory workplace safety signs.
If you’re interested in smarter signage, you can browse our catalogue for more information on safety signs and meanings.