Signs are used extensively in workplace facilities and on products to identify hazards and provide instructions and safety information. A fundamental component of these signs is a signal-word panel located at the top of the sign. Certain colors and signal words in this panel are intended to convey information about a hazard, including likelihood of harm and imminence of the threat. The purpose of this study was to determine if young adults without prior training on safety signs associate signal words and color with likelihood of harm and imminence of the threat. The sample population consisted of 59 college students. Subject rated their impressions of ten signs using ordered rating scales. Results indicated that both signal word and color had highly significant effects on ratings for both likelihood of harm and imminence of the threat.
Jensen, Roger C. and McCammack, Andrew M., "Safety and Health Sign Colors and Signal Words for Communicating Information on Likelihood and Imminence of Threat" (2002). Safety Health & Industrial Hygiene. 26.