What is a prohibition sign? - The Sign Shed

What is a prohibition sign?

What is a prohibition sign?

A prohibition sign is a health and safety sign that prohibits specific actions or behaviours that could mean risk of injury or harm. These signs are designed to prevent accidents, protect individuals from hazards, and promote safe practices in various settings, such as workplaces, public spaces, and industrial areas.

Purpose of Prohibition Signs

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

  1. Clearly Indicate Prohibited Actions: Prohibition signs provide clear and unmistakable instructions about specific actions or behaviors that are strictly prohibited in the designated area or setting.
  2. Prevent Unsafe Practices: By prohibiting certain actions, these signs help to prevent accidents, injuries, and harm that could result from unsafe practices or behaviors.
  3. Minimize Risks and Hazards: Prohibition signs aim to minimise risks and hazards by discouraging or preventing behaviors that could lead to dangerous situations or exposure to harmful substances or conditions.
  4. Promote Safe Behaviour: Prohibition signs contribute to a culture of safety by establishing clear rules and expectations, and encouraging individuals to adopt safe behaviors and practices.

Design and Symbolism of Prohibition Signs

Prohibition signs are typically characterized by their red circle with a diagonal slash through a black pictogram or text indicating the prohibited action. This standardized design is easily recognizable worldwide and clearly conveys the message that the specified action is not allowed.

In some instances, prohibition signs may also include additional text descriptions or symbols to reinforce the prohibition, such as phrases like "No Entry" or "Do Not Touch." These additional elements can be helpful in cases where language barriers may exist or when further clarification is needed.

Placement of Prohibition Signs

Prohibition signs should be strategically placed in visible locations where they are most relevant to the prohibited actions. They should be positioned at entrances, exits, along walls, near potential hazards, and in areas where prohibited behaviors are likely to occur. The signage should be mounted at a height that is easily seen by occupants, typically between 6 feet and 8 feet from the floor.

Compliance with Regulations

Prohibition signs must comply with relevant regulations, that most importantly include the Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996 in the UK. These regulations specify the design, dimensions, colors, and symbols used for prohibition signs, ensuring consistency and effectiveness in conveying safety information.

Examples of Prohibition Signs

Some common examples of prohibition signs include:

  1. No Smoking Signs: These signs prohibit smoking in designated areas to protect individuals from secondhand smoke and reduce fire hazards.
  2. No Entry Signs: These signs restrict access to specific areas to prevent unauthorized entry, protect sensitive equipment or materials, or maintain safety in hazardous zones.
  3. No Touch Signs: These signs prohibit touching or interacting with specific objects or surfaces to prevent contamination, protect sensitive equipment, or avoid potential hazards.
  4. No Open Flames Signs: These signs prohibit the use of open flames or naked lights in designated areas to prevent fire hazards and explosions.
  5. Do Not Operate Signs: These signs prohibit the operation of specific machinery or equipment without proper authorisation or training to prevent accidents or misuse.


Prohibition signs play a crucial role in promoting safety, preventing accidents, and protecting individuals from harm. By clearly indicating prohibited actions, these signs help to establish clear boundaries, discourage unsafe practices, and promote a culture of safety in various settings.

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