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News - Photoluminescent safety signage and the law?

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Is there a legal requirement for Photoluminescent safety signage?


Our previous two Photoluminescent blog posts have covered the uses of ‘glow-in-the-dark’ safety products and the benefits of an approved photoluminescent egress system in case of an emergency situation…….but are there any requisite legal bindings?

The short answer for the United Kingdom is NO; neither the Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996 or The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 stipulate a legal requirement for photoluminescent signage.

Furthermore, the UK Building Regs 2010 requires every doorway or other exit providing fire escape access to be provided with an exit sign. However, there is no legal requirement for this to be photoluminescent.

However, there is a strong moral argument that a correctly installed photoluminescent safety way guidance system (SWGS) can save lives and reduce damage liability?

Significantly, the catastrophic events of 911 established that improved SWGS’s could help save lives in emergency ‘lights-out’ or ‘smoke-filled’ situations.

Particularly, buildings with complex internal layouts with multiple exits and dead-ends being prime targets for an improved SWGS to reduce the likelihood of injury or death.


Operating Conditions and Standards

When making the decision to install a photoluminescent SWGS it is important to know how photoluminescent products work and that the required background operating conditions are in place – there is no point installing photoluminescent signage if there is no emergency/artificial lighting or natural daylight present to ‘charge’ the photolum signage?

Whilst we have said there are no legal requirements, ensuring a high specification photolum product is used is advisable and this is covered by existing international standards for photoluminescent products.


The Photoluminescent Safety Products Association (PSPA) regulates standards for photoluminescent products ranked on a Class A – Class D scale.

Class a - Class d

Class A being the minimum requirement with, Class B, C & D having superior levels of brightness and decay times.


The Photoluminescent Safety Association (PSA) & The Photoluminescent Safety Products Association (PSPA) have generated a very useful guidance document for preparing an SWGS in stairwells……..you can download that document at the link below:

PSA & PSPA Guidance Doc


Other points of reference:

ISO & British Standards

BS ISO 3864-1:2011

Graphical symbols. Safety colours and safety signs. Design principles for safety signs and safety markings

ISO 16069:2004

Graphical symbols — Safety signs — Safety way guidance systems (SWGS)


Check out our dedicated Photoluminescent website and range of products at photoluminescent.co.uk

Please contact us at enquiries@innovasolutions.co.uk for further information.

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