What is a mandatory sign? - The Sign Shed

What is a mandatory sign?

What is a mandatory sign?

A mandatory sign is a visual communication tool used to convey specific actions or behaviors that must be followed in a particular setting, such as a workplace, public space, or industrial area. These signs are designed to promote safety, prevent accidents, and ensure compliance with relevant regulations.

Mandatory signs are typically characterised by their blue circle with a white pictogram or text indicating the required action. They are often accompanied by text descriptions for added clarity. These signs are distinct from other types of safety signs, such as warning signs and prohibition signs, which have different colors and symbols to convey different levels of risk or importance.

Purpose of Mandatory Signs

Mandatory signs serve several crucial purposes in promoting safety and preventing accidents:

  1. Clearly Indicate Required Actions: Mandatory signs provide clear and unambiguous instructions about specific actions or behaviors that must be followed, leaving no room for misinterpretation or ambiguity.
  2. Promote Compliance with Regulations: Mandatory signs help enforce compliance with relevant health and safety regulations, ensuring that individuals adhere to established safety protocols.
  3. Minimize Risks and Accidents: By mandating safe practices and procedures, mandatory signs help to reduce the risk of accidents, injuries, and harm to individuals and property.
  4. Enhance Workplace Safety Culture: Mandatory signs contribute to a positive safety culture by emphasizing the importance of following safety procedures and fostering a culture of responsibility and accountability.

Examples of Mandatory Signs

Some common examples of mandatory signs include:

  1. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Signs: These signs mandate the use of specific PPE, such as safety helmets, gloves, eye protection, or respirators, in designated areas or for specific tasks.
  2. Hand Hygiene Signs: These signs promote proper hand hygiene practices. Examples include washing hands before entering food preparation areas or after using the restroom, to minimise the spread of germs and infections.
  3. No Smoking Signs: These signs prohibit smoking in designated areas to protect individuals from secondhand smoke and reduce fire hazards.
  4. Emergency Procedure Signs: These signs provide clear instructions on specific emergency procedures, such as evacuation routes, assembly points, or fire extinguisher usage, to ensure a safe and coordinated response in an emergency.
  5. Speed Limit Signs: These signs mandate specific speed limits in designated areas, such as construction zones or school zones, to promote safe traffic flow and prevent accidents.

Placement and Maintenance of Mandatory Signs

Mandatory signs should be strategically placed in visible locations where they are most relevant to the required actions or behaviors. They should be mounted at a height that is easily seen by occupants, typically between 6 feet and 8 feet from the floor.

Regular inspection and maintenance of mandatory signs are crucial to ensure their effectiveness in promoting safety and preventing accidents. Signs should be checked for damage, dirt, or obstructions, and any issues should be addressed promptly. Routine cleaning and replacement of damaged or faded signs are essential to maintain their visibility and effectiveness.

Compliance with Regulations

Mandatory signs must comply with relevant regulations, such as the UK Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996. These regulations specify the design, dimensions, colors, and symbols used for mandatory signs, ensuring consistency and effectiveness in conveying safety information.


Mandatory signs play a vital role in promoting safety and preventing accidents in various settings. By clearly indicating required actions, promoting compliance with regulations, and enhancing workplace safety culture, mandatory signs contribute to a safer and healthier work environment for everyone.

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