The Importance of OSHA Signs for Construction Sites

You have likely heard the title many times in the workplace, but what exactly is OSHA? The Occupational Heath and Safety Administration is an oversight organization created to hold employers responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for employees and visitors at all times.

According to the United States Department of Labor, workers’ rights include:

  • Working in a place where conditions are safe and do not pose risk of serious harm
  • Workers shall receive training (in an appropriate language that he/she will understand) regarding potential workplace hazards , ways to prevent these, and all OSHA standards that apply to his or her workplace
  • A review of work-related injuries and illnesses at their place of empolyment
  • All workers have the right to anonymously file a complaint asking OSHA to inspect the workplace if there is a potential hazard or the company is not complying with OSHA rules and regulations
  • These rights are protected under law to be exercised without fear of retaliation; if retaliation does occur, this should be immediately reported via a formal OSHA complaint no later than 30 days after the event

For more information, please visit OSHA or call 800.321.OSHA (6742), TYY 877.889.5627.

OSHA Regulated Construction Area Signs

Working in a construction area, is, by nature, a very dangerous job. If proper safety precautions are not taken, unnecessary and often serious injuries, including death, can occur. This is why proper OSHA signage is critical – and required at every construction zone.

It is the employer’s responsibility to understand the risks associated with their industry, work areas, and equipment. Signs should never be used as generic warnings.

OSHA Safety Signage Applicable to Nearly All Construction Sites

DANGER – Posted in an area where hazards are likely to result in serious injury or death. Signs should be used ONLY in extremely dangerous areas, for example where high voltage is present, creating an electrical hazard. Danger signs are preceded by the safety alert triangle and feature bold white “DANGER” lettering surrounded by a red background.

WARNING – Posted in an area where serious injury or death may occur, yet overall risk does not require the danger sign. Examples include: heavy debris, high voltage, or blasting areas. Warning signs feature the safety alert triangle followed by the word “WARNING” printed in black with an orange background.

CAUTION – Posted where a minor or moderate physical injury could be caused. Examples include: contact with harmful equipment, substances, slips or falls, among others. Caution signs are symbolized by the safety alert triangle followed by the word “CAUTION” printed in black with a yellow background.

NOTICE – Posted in low risk areas where they serve as safety reminders. Examples include: informational signs about wearing hard hats, machinery, employees only in a specific area, or equipment. These signs often outline proper procedures, maintenance information and instructions, rules, or directions that do not relate specifically to personal injury.

GENERAL SAFETY SIGNS – Posted in low-risk areas as reminders for general safety. For example: signs relating to medical equipment, overall health, first aid, sanitation, housekeeping, and general safety measures.

ADMITTANCE – Posted in areas where restriction is limited to specific groups of people or individuals. These signs may specify the dangers of entering a restricted area.

FIRE SAFETY – Posted wherever fire exits are located and specify locations of emergency firefighting equipment.

NON-HAZARD SIGNS – While technically not safety signs, these signs are beneficial for sharing general safety information. For example: directional signs and procedures, via easy to read text and visual symbols.


Additional OSHA Guidelines

Once you have purchased the appropriate signs that comply with OSHA requirements, it is crucial that they are posted in the proper places. According to 29 CFR 1910.1 45(f)(4)(vi), signs must be placed “as close as safely possible” to the appropriate hazard.

It is also paramount that employees and anyone in the vicinity are able to clearly see and read the signs from a safe distance away. 29 CFR 1910.1 45(f)(4) specifies a distance of five feet away from the hazard.


See our other OSHA blogs for additional information on keeping your employees and visitors safe:

How to Increase Workplace Safety Over the Summer

Caution, Warning and Danger Signs Explained

OSHA’s National Youth Safety Initiative

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