HSE Sign Categories

General Categories of Signs

The different signage types to be used at any facility can be broadly grouped into the following categories.


Advance Directional Signs

Directional information is not only important within the confines of the site, it is also important to guide people to the actual facility from a distance, particularly in towns with complex traffic systems.

The Department of the Environment publication “Traffic Signs Manual” 1996 must be adhered to in relation to all road signs. Chapter 4, sections 4.4.6 and 4.4.7 deal with hospital signs and the symbols to be used.

Due to the nature of services provided it is vital that people are able to access the facilities with ease. In the case of hospitals and other facilities that will be visited by large numbers of people, it is important they are given good directional information as soon as it is relevant.

Site Entrance Signs

A good quality entrance sign is a necessity for every site. It acts as a key location sign for a Health Service Executive facility.

As these signs will be the most visible to the public on a day-to-day basis, it is important that a strong confident image of the Health Service Executive and the related facility is projected. Consistency in these signs will connect all of the Health Service Executive facilities, reinforcing the unified approach to health care nationally. All site entrance signs must be bi-lingual

Directional Signs within Grounds

Clear directional information to various areas and buildings within the site is required in order to optimise traffic flow.

Essential directional information should be clearly outlined and excess detail avoided.

These signage types may be divided into two categories, i.e. motorist signs and pedestrian signs.

Location Identification Signs

A consistent approach is required when labelling signs. It is vital that place names and location identification signs are consistent with previous directional information and previsit information.

For example, if a Main Entrance is labelled as “Main Entrance” on pedestrian directional signs then a corresponding sign at the door identifying it as “Main Entrance” and not another name e.g. “Reception”.

Similarly, if patients are referred to a specific location in pre-visit correspondence then this location should be identified in the same wording e.g. if there is a reference to the “Patient Registration Office” on a form, the area should be identified as such and not as “Admissions”. This is particularly important in the context of a hospital or other health service facility, as the terminology used is frequently unfamiliar to a client/ visitor.