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Sign Viewing Distances

Choosing the Right Sign Size

Signs should be large enough to view without straining the eyes when communicating safety messages to employees and/or visitors. Sign copy should be legible and easy to read at a correct viewing distance. You must consider the environment, lighting and viewing distance, these factors will determine the size of sign required to suit your application. For symbol and minimally worded signs in a work environment where lighting is good and the sign will be mounted in a reasonably prominent position, the recommended minimum sizes are as follows.

Sign Viewing Distance Guidelines

What is the correct sign size and correct viewing distance?

The correct viewing distance varies depending on application. As every environment and its conditions are different, this is not something we can determine for you, it must be determined by the end user or safety professional.

Helpful Tip
Before ordering your sign, place a cardboard panel or a similar representation in the proposed location to ascertain the ideal size and verify positioning.

Some questions to ask when considering your sign; How far ahead do I need to warn about this hazard? Where can I position the sign without obstruction? Does the hazard require a big sign or would a smaller sign be enough? For example, if you need to warn people about a machine hazard, then the warning needs to appear close to the point of where the hazard may occur (machinery labels are ideal in this case), if the hazard encompasses a bigger area, for example, a door entrance, construction site, warehouse, etc. then you need a safety sign that can be viewed and read before a person enters the "hazardous area". You need to alert people in advance of any hazards that may occur by entering the area.

Signs should be positioned to alert people right away, without creating distraction. In visually complex environments or areas of activity, smaller signs may be insufficient. In cases like this it is recommended to identify the hazard(s) with medium to large signs and position them closer to the "hazardous area". Only place signs that relate to the specific hazard in the area where you want the hazard identified (on machinery, near the excavation, etc).  In some instances, signs need to be posted at eye level, however other signs must be posted in such a way that can be viewed from a greater distance, like construction signs, parking and traffic signs.

  • Small signs should be mounted at eye level for viewing from 6 - 9 metres.
  • Medium signs should be mounted at 1.8 Metres or higher level for viewing up to 12 metres.
  • Large signs should be mounted at 1.8 Metres or higher level for viewing up to 18 metres.
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Minimum Text Sizes

All statements, technical information and recommendations are based on data believed to be reliable. It is given in good faith but the accuracy and/or completeness is not guaranteed. The user shall determine the suitability of the product for their particular purpose and shall assume all risk and liability in connection herewith.