Safety colour codes in Brazil

Brazilian regulatory standard NR26 – Safety Signs refers to national technical standards in terms of the provisions to identify safety equipments, demarcate areas, identify pipes used for conducting liquids and gases and warn against risks. These are:

  • NBR 7195 – Safety colors
  • NBR 6493 – Use of colors for pipes identification

NBR 7195 establishes colors to be used in order to prevent accidents, identification and warning on hazardous conditions.

Table 1 – Safety Colors

Color Usage Munsell Value
Red a) Fire protection and fighting equipments and their location, including doors and emergency exit. The accessories of the equipment such as valves, filters, etc., shall be identified by the color yellow.b) Stop signs and prohibition signs, as well as in lights to indicate barriers, temporary walls, etc., and in emergency stop buttons.c) On gas welding equipment, the acetylene hose shall be color red. 5 R 4/14
Orange a) Moving or dangerous parts of machines and equipment;b) Internal surface and protection devices of electrical cubicles that may be opened;c) Lifesaving water equipment such as lifebuoys, life-jackets, life saving floating devices and similar. 2.5 Y R 6/14
Yellow a) Portable ladders, except wooden ladders, on which the painting shall be limited to the external surface up to the level of the third step to prevent hiding of defects;b) Handrails, borders, floors and lower parts of stairs that may present risks;c) Face of steps in a stair;d) Border of cargo or multi-purpose elevator doors that closes automatically;e) Stripes on cargo or multi-purpose elevator doors or cargo platform;f) Curbs or floor steps that need attention;g) Walkways used for both people and forklifts or other cargo transportation equipment;h) Stripes around fire-fighting equipment;

i) End walls of dead-end hallways or corridors;

j) Upper or lateral parts of passageways that may present risks;

k) Cargo transportation equipment or material handling equipment such as forklifts, bulldozers, tractors, overhead cranes, gantry cranes, cranes, wagons or trailers of industrial use, etc, including their cabins, trunks and towers;

l) Warning signs background;

m) Pillars, columns, beams, poles, or other protruding parts of structures that might represent collision risks;

n) Barricade, barriers and other road block equipment;

o) Heavy-duty vehicles bumpers;

p) Fire-fighting system accessories, such as non-return valves, passage valves, etc;

q) Stripes to limit storage areas.

5 Y 8/12
Green a) First aid kits location;b) Boxes with personal protection equipment;c) Emergency showers and eye washers;d) Stretches location;e) Limit of safety areas;f) Stripes limiting special areas (smoking areas, resting areas, etc.);g) Emergency room entry doors;h) Safety signals.

i) On gas welding equipment, the oxygen hose shall be color green.

10 GY 6/6
Blue a) To determine the use of PPE (personal protection equipment) – example: “Use ear plugs”;b) To prohibit starting or energizing equipment – example: “Do not turn on” or Do not start”. 2.5 PB 4/10
Purple a) Doors or access openings to places where radioactive materials or contaminated materials are handled or stored;b) Places where radioactive materials or contaminated materials are buried;c) Containers for radioactive material or remains of radioactive materials;d) Light signals indicating equipment producing electromagnetic radiation or nuclear particles; 10 P 4/10; 2.5 RP 4/10
White a) Stripes limiting walkways or passages to be used exclusively for transit of people;b) Signaling arrows indicating traffic direction;c) Location of trash cans or dumpsters;d) Areas around emergency equipment or other emergency devices;e) Shelters and health residues collection bins.
Black To identify residues collectors, except health residues.

Except for the colors green, white and black, all other colors presented in NBR 7195  shall not be used to paint machinery.

It is recommended the use of contrasting colors according to the Table 2 to enhance the visibility of the signals. The contrasting colors shall be used as stripes or squares in order to enhance the visual effect, but their area shall not be over 50% of the total area.

Table 2 – Contrasting colors

Safety Color Contrasting Color
Red White
Orange Black
Yellow Black
Green White
Blue White
Purple White
White Black
Black White

NBR 6493 establishes the requirements for the use of colors to identify the pipes containing or transferring liquids, fragmented materials or electrical conductors in order to prevent accidents.

Table 3 – Colors for pipe identification

Product Color Munsell Value
Chemicals, not gases Safety orange 2.5 YR 6/14
Gases, not liquefied Safety yellow 5 Y 8/12
Compressed air Safety blue 2.5 PB 4/10
Vapour White N 9.5
Vacuum Light grey N 6.5
Electrical conduit Dark grey N 3.5
Liquefied, flammable and combustible gases having low viscosity (for example, diesel oil, gasoline, kerosene, lubricating oil, solvents); Aluminum Neutral color that has the appearance of a semi-polished aluminum surface.
Fragmented materials (ores), crude oil; Brown 2.5 YR 2/4
Flammable and combustible materials having high viscosity (for example, fuel oil, asphalt, tar, pitch); Black N1
Water, except those using for fire fighting; Green 2.5 G 3/4
Water and other substances using for  fire fighting Safety red 5 R 4/14

Pipe identification marks shall have a width of 40 cm. If the pipes are leaning against a wall or other obstacles, partial application of the marker is also allowed.

Whenever necessary, information to facilitate the identification of the pipe content shall be included on pipe markers. These shall be in black for any color of which Munsell value is equal to or greater than five, and in white, if less than five.

If the pipes are transferring water or foam for fire services, the entire length of the pipe shall be painted. Aluminum colored rings transferring foam shall have a width of 5 cm and be at regular intervals throughout the length of the pipe.

Drinking water pipes shall be differentiated with the letter P in white over green. If there is salt and fresh water, the S or D letters shall be placed.