Under the Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996, the EC Safety Signs Directive was brought into effect to try and standardise fire safety signs across the European Union.
Signs are required when risks exist which cannot be avoided by other means or controlled. If a sign would not reduce this risk, or if it is not deemed as significant, they are not needed. However, you need to be 100 per cent sure this applies before opting not to invest in fire safety signs.
Your local fire authority can be found on Directgov and it is this body that will advise you on the use of appropriate signage. However, you need to make sure that the symbols on the fire exit signs and other ones comply with BS 5499 Part 1:1990 Fire safety signs, notices and graphic symbols.
The standards detail that fire extinguisher signs are red with white images and writing on, while fire exit signs are green and white. Fire action signs, meanwhile, are usually blue and white.
If you do not have the right signage in place, you could find yourself at risk of being prosecuted by your local fire authority. This could seriously damage your finances and reputation – while the lives of employees and visitors may also be put at risk if your fire safety signs are lacking or incorrect.