Color Coding & Accident Prevention Signs & Tags

Program Overview

Safety color coding is used identify physical hazards, the location of safety equipment, protective equipment, signs, and markers.  Safety color coding should not be used as a substitute for engineering or administrative controls to eliminate identifiable hazards.  The following colors and color combinations are recommended to be used by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for safety code color markings:

Red – the basic color for the identification of fire suppression equipment, to signify “Danger” or to “Stop”.

Yellow – the basic color for designating caution and for marking physical hazards, such as, striking against, stumbling, falling, tripping, and "caught in between.

Green – the basic color for communicating safety information. 

Accident prevention signs and tags are used as safety instructions for workers, identifying hazardous conditions and providing a brief message with respect to those conditions to prevent accidental injury or illness.   Some of the various classifications found at Emory University include:

Danger Sign Danger – indicates immediate danger and that special precautions are necessary. They are only used in situations where an immediate hazard presents a threat of death or serious injury to employees.
Caution Sign Caution – warns against potential hazards or to caution against unsafe practices.  They are used in minor hazard situations where a non-immediate or potential hazard or unsafe practice presents a lesser threat of employee injury.
Warning Sign Warning – represents a hazard level between "Caution" and "Danger."
Biohazard Sign Biological – identifies the actual or potential presence of a biological hazard.  They are used to identify equipment, containers, rooms, experimental animals, or combinations thereof, that contain or are contaminated with hazardous biological agents.
Radiation Hazard Sign Radiation – identifies locations where radioactive materials are being handled, or where radiation-producing equipment is being used.   They are used so employees can take the necessary precautions before entering the area.