WHAT ARE SAFETY WAY GUIDANCE SYSTEMS?

A Safety Way Guidance System (SWGS) can be defined as a system that provides luminous markings and direction information for the safety of people leaving a location.

A good SWGS communicates the necessary information to allow people to evacuate a building effectively (i.e.in a consistent and coherent manner) to a designated safe area in the event of an emergency. 

Safety Way Guidance Systems in themselves cannot be standardised as every building and set of occupants are different. What can be standardised however is the methodology used to design a SWGS and the way the information required is presented.

Below is a list of SWGS components which should be considered after any risk assessment concluding that a Safety Way Guidance System could reduce defined risks in the workplace.

Escape Route Safety Signs

  • At high location (1.8m to ceiling level ) to indicate the direction of the escape route, changes to the escape route path and final destinations at medium to long observation distances(10m-30m).
  • At intermediate location (1,2m-1.8m from floor level)to reinforce the message of high location signs along the escape route and at exits to be used in emergencies.
  • At low location (below 1,2m to floor level) to reinforce the message of high location signs and low level guidance lines.

Escape Route Tapes

  • At low location (no higher than 400mm from the floor or on the floor) to provide a continuous, conspicuous line from any point in the building to the final destination, preferably delineating the boundaries of the escape path for up to 10m.
  • At intermediate location (up to 1,20m from the floor) to visually reinforce the escape route,identify hand rails/central supports and other features along the escape route for observation distances between 10m and 20m.
  • On emergency exit doors including the final emergency exit door around the door frame to show which doors are part of the escape route.
  • On stairs,ramps or ladders at low and intermediate location, if appropriate, to indicate the pitch line of the steps, outline of each step or highlight a ramp gradient.

Photo: Innova Solutions Ltd

Safety Tapes

Escape Route Safety Markers

  • At low location include:
    • arrows in dots;
    • plain dots.
  • At intermediate location include:
    • door opening mechanism signs;
    • light switch markers.

Photo: Jalite Plc.

Other Safety Signs

  • Fire Equipment Safety Signs and Safety Equipment Signs at intermediate height near to the location of the equipment to identify what type of equipment it is and its purpose such as fire extinguishers.
  • Warning Safety Signs at intermediate height to indicate the nature and location of potential hazards such as electrical equipment or obstacles on the escape route such as pillars.

Other Safety markers

  • Fire Equipment Tapes to outline fire equipment on or near to the escape route.
  • Hazard Tape to outline potential hazards on or near to the escape route.

Photo: Jalite Plc.

To access more detailed information on Safety Way Guidance Systems and the subject of design and implementation, you need to register and become a PSPA Member.

Relevant Standards and Standard Summaries:

ISO 16069:2004 Graphical symbols – Safety signs – Safety way Guidance Systems (SWGS).

ISO 3864 -1: 2011 Graphical symbols – Safety colours and safety signs – Part 1: design principles for safety signs and safety markings.

ISO 3864- 4: 2011 Graphical symbols – Safety colours and safety signs – Part 4: Colormetric and photometric properties of safety sign materials.

ISO 7010: 2011 and Amendment 2012 Graphical symbols – Safety colours and safety signs – Register safety signs

ISO 23601: 2009 Safety identification- Escape and evacuation plans.

Relevant Legislation and Legislation summaries:

EC Directive 92/58/EEC – Safety and/or health signs.

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