​The Differences Between Warning Stickers, Danger Stickers, and Caution Stickers - Waste Stickers
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​The Differences Between Warning Stickers, Danger Stickers, and Caution Stickers

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Most people walk by caution stickers, danger stickers, and warning stickers every day and don’t notice that there are patterns in them, similarities and differences that each tell them something different. Many have no idea that there are actually specific rules that govern what these stickers convey and what they look like.

If you’re on our site looking for these stickers, it’s possible that you’re one of the few people who is familiar with the difference between all of these different types of stickers. Maybe you’re part of the plant safety team and are responsible for placing stickers on dozens of pieces of heavy machinery. But there are also those who stop by our site who are superintendents at apartment complexes who just need a few stickers and might never have the need to know how these different types of stickers are used. Today we’re going to break it down!

Technically, the stickers we sell all fall into the category that are called “precautionary statements.” Let’s take a look at what each of the hazards stickers is trying to tell us.

Danger Signs

Danger stickers and signs are reserved for only the most dangerous situations. These stickers are found in situations where failure to take precautions will almost certainly result in serious injury or death. OSHA states that danger stickers “Shall be used in major hazard situations where an immediate hazard presents a threat of death or serious injury to employees.”

Danger stickers are to be used in only the most extreme circumstances. Danger signs are not to be used to signal that there is potential property damage, unless the property damage could also lead to an immediate hazard that could cause someone bodily harm.

Danger decals are almost always red, white, and black, with an exclamation point accompanying the actual word “danger.”

Warning Signs

Warning stickers and signs are just below danger on the hazard scale. While there is still the possibility of serious injury or death, the danger isn’t immediate. Instead, the situation could become potentially hazardous if safety precautions aren’t followed. Like danger signs, warning signs should not be used to indicate the possibility of property damages unless it could lead to human injury or death. Warning stickers are usually orange, black, and white.

OSHA regulations are less specific about what requires a warning sign, simply placing it somewhere between danger and cautions hazard stickers. OSHA states: “"May be used to represent a hazard level between ‘Caution’ and ‘Danger,’ instead of the required ‘Caution’ tag, provided that they have a signal word of ‘Warning,’...

So, what’s a caution sign? Glad you asked...

Caution Signs

Caution stickers and signs relate the least likely possibility of harm to employees or the general public. The danger isn’t immediate, and there isn’t as large a threat of injury. Still, serious injury or death isn’t ruled out as a possibility in the presence of a caution sticker. As long as safe practices are adhered to, the threat of injury is minimal. OSHA states caution signs "Shall be used in minor hazard situations where a non-immediate or potential hazard or unsafe practice presents a lesser threat of employee injury."

Caution decals are usually yellow and black, but might also use white and red. Like the danger and warning stickers, an exclamation point is often incorporated.

Notice Signs

Warning, danger, and caution signs are all concerned with protecting human life and limb, so what do you use if you want to ensure that people protect the equipment? How do you tell them that they shouldn’t throw tires or batteries into the trash? How do you remind them that a vehicle shouldn’t be driven over a certain speed? Enter the notice sticker!

Notice stickers cover a wide range of situations that people should be aware of. In addition to those mentioned above, they can also indicate private use (as in the case of waste receptacle bins), reminders about etiquette (“keep lid of container closed”), or notices to the public (“employee entrance only”). In short, notice stickers can be used for just about anything that isn’t a danger to people, and if you don’t see what you’re looking for at the link above, we’d be more than happy to make you a custom notice sticker.

Notice stickers are most commonly white and blue, though other colors can be used to draw attention to them. There is no exclamation point next to the word “notice.” OSHA has no official stance on when notice stickers should be used.

If you are a plant manager, you might have already known when each of these types of stickers should be used. But we hope that this information is valuable to those who might never have noticed the levels of difference between danger, warning, and cautions stickers. Click those links above to find exactly what you need, or use the search box to find a sticker that’s right for your situation.

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