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Construction Safety and Health
Outreach Program
U.S. Department of Labor
OSHA Office of Training and Education
May 1996

The current 2002 construction standards for Subpart G are found in the Standards section.


Signs, signals, and barricades are important, if not critical, to the safety of the construction workers. Several important definitions are applicable to this subpart:

Barricade means an obstruction to deter the passage of persons or vehicles.

Signs are the warnings of hazard, temporarily or permanently affixed or placed, at locations where hazards exist.

Signals are moving signs, provided by workers, such as flagmen, or by devices, such as flashing lights, to warn of possible or existing hazards.

Tags are temporary signs, usually attached to a piece of equipment or part of a structure, to warn of existing or immediate hazards.



Danger Signs

Signs and symbols required by this Subpart G shall be visible at all times when work is being performed, and shall be removed or covered promptly when the hazards no longer exist.

Danger Signs

Danger signs shall be used only where an immediate hazard exists.

Danger signs shall have red as the predominating color for the upper panel; black outline on the borders; and a white lower panel for additional sign wording (see accompanying figure).

Caution Signs

Caution Signs

Caution signs shall be used only to warn against potential hazards or to caution against unsafe practices.

Caution signs shall have yellow as the predominating color; black upper panel and borders; yellow lettering of "caution" on the black panel; and the lower yellow panel for additional sign wording. Black lettering shall be used for additional wording.

Standard color of the background shall be yellow; and the panel, black with yellow letters. Any letters used Exit Signs
against the yellow background shall be black. The colors shall be those of opaque glossy samples as specified in Table 1 of American National Standard ANSI Z53.1-1967 (see accompanying figure).

Exit Signs

Exit signs, when required, shall be lettered in legible red letters, not less than 6 inches high, on a white field and the principal stroke of the letters shall be at least three-fourths inch in width.

Safety Instruction Signs

Safety Instruction Signs

Safety instruction signs, when used, shall be white with green upper panel with white letters to convey the principal message. Any additional wording on the sign shall be black letters on the white background (see accompanying figure).

Directional Signs

Directional signs, other than automotive traffic signs specified in the paragraph below, shall be white with a black panel and a white directional symbol. Any additional wording on the sign shall be black letters on the white background.

Traffic Signs

Traffic Signs

Construction areas shall be posted with legible traffic signs at points of hazard.

All traffic control signs or devices used for protection of construction workers shall conform to American National Standards Institute ANSI D6.1-1971, Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways.

Accident Prevention Tags

Accident prevention tags shall be used as a temporary means of warning employees of an existing hazard, such as defective tools, equipment, etc. They shall not be used in place of, or as a substitute for, accident prevention signs.

Specifications for accident prevention tags similar to those shown below shall apply.

Accident Prevention Tags

Basic Stock
Safety Colors
Copy Specification
White Red Do Not Operate
White Black and Red Danger
Yellow Black Caution
White Black Out of Order
Do Not Use

Additional Rules

American National Standards Institute ANSI Z35.1-1968, Specifications for Accident Prevention Signs, and ANSI Z35.2-1968, Specifications for Accident Prevention Tags, contain rules which are additional to the rules prescribed in this section. The employer shall comply with these ANSI standards with respect to rules not specifically prescribed in this subpart.

SIGNALING - §1926.201


FlagmenWhen operations are such that signs, signals, and barricades do not provide the necessary protection on or adjacent to a highway or street, flagmen or other appropriate traffic controls shall be provided.

Signaling directions by flagmen shall conform to the American National Standards Institute ANSI D6.1-1971, Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways.

Hand signaling by flagmen shall be by use of red flags at least 18 inches square or sign paddles, and in periods of darkness, red lights.

Flagmen shall be provided with and shall wear a red or orange warning garment while flagging. Warning garments worn at night shall be of reflectorized material.

Crane and Hoist Signals

Regulations for crane and hoist signaling will be found in applicable American National Standards Institute standards.


BARRICADES - §1926.202

Barricades for protection of employees shall conform to the portions of the American National Standards Institute ANSI D6.1-1971, Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways, relating to barricades.