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Provision of health and safety signs at work

This Directive is to introduce a Community system of safety signs designed to reduce the risk of accidents at work and occupational diseases.


Council Directive 92/58/EEC of 24 June 1992 on the minimum requirements for the provision of health and/or safety signs at work (ninth individual Directive within the meaning of Directive 89/391/EEC) [Official Journal L 245 of 26.8.92].


Directive 92/58/EEC lays down minimum requirements concerning health and safety signs at work *. For example, they relate to: location and identification of containers and pipes, fire-fighting equipment, certain traffic routes, illuminated and acoustic signs, as well as the introduction of appropriate verbal communications * and hand signals *.

This Directive complements the Framework Directive 89/391/EEC on health and safety at work.

The Directive does not apply to signs for the placing on the market of dangerous substances and preparations, products and/or equipment, nor to signs used for regulating road, rail, inland waterway, and sea or air traffic.

Employers' obligations

Employers must provide safety signs where hazards cannot be avoided or adequately reduced by preventive measures or procedures used in the organisation of work.

Wherever appropriate, signs used for road, rail, inland waterway, sea and air transport can be installed inside companies or undertakings.

Supplementary information

Member States may specify certain exemptions within certain precise limits.

Workers must be informed of the measures to be taken and must be given appropriate training (precise instructions).

Workers must be consulted and allowed to participate on the matters covered by the Directive.

Technical adaptations to the Annexes will be adopted by the Commission, assisted by a committee (Article 17 of Directive 89/391/EEC).

Member States are required to report to the Commission every five years on the practical implementation of the Directive. The Commission is required to report periodically to the European Parliament, the Council and the Economic and Social Committee on the implementation of the Directive.


The Directive repeals Directive 77/576/EC on safety signs in the work place.

Key terms of the Act
  • Safety and health signs: information or instructions about safety and/or health at work by means of a signboard, a colour, an illuminated sign or acoustic or hand signal, or a verbal communication;
  • Verbal communication: a predetermined spoken message communicated by a human or artificial voice;
  • Hand signal: a movement or position of the arms or hands for guiding persons who are carrying out manoeuvres which constitute a hazard or danger.


ActEntry into force - Date of expiryDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Directive 92/58/EEC



OJ L 245 of 26.8.1992

ActEntry into force - Date of expiryDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Directive 2007/30/EC



OJ L 165 of 27.6.2007


Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the practical implementation of Health and Safety at Work Directives 92/57/EEC (temporary and mobile sites) and 92/58/EEC (safety signs at work) [COM(2008) 698 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The Commission presents a positive report on the implementation of Directive 92/58/EEC. In fact, the majority of the 15 European Union Member States have completed their legislation through the new rules and requirements provided for in this Directive.
Implementation of the Directive has enabled the national systems of workplace safety signs to be streamlined. However, the Commission states that workers are still badly informed about the rules on signs and the Commission encourages companies to strengthen their training activities.

Last updated: 18.03.2010
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