It is the responsibility of New York City property owners to maintain a safe premises for pedestrians to walk on. However, floors can become wet or damaged, necessitating repair or maintenance to make the dangerous area safe again. In the meantime, the hazardous area should be marked so that the public can avoid it. However, a warning that is conveyed too weakly or in an unclear manner can fail to warn an unwary pedestrian of danger.

According to, warning signs should not be too wordy. They need to get across a message to the reader, but the reader should not have to spend too much time reading the information on the sign. Part of the problem with wordy signs is that the more words a sign uses, the smaller the words have to be. A sign with too many words may draw a pedestrian in closer to the danger location in order to read the sign.

Warning signs also need to convey accurate information. To do so, OSHA states that warning signs ought to relay a positive message instead of a negative one. Telling someone not to perform an action can be confusing. A warning sign should offer a simple command, such as to stay away, anything that directs pedestrians away from a danger area in a concise and clear manner.

Sign colors are another factor. OSHA designates caution signs to have a yellow color, with words and images to be printed in black. One of the most common caution signs in use is the wet floor sign. Typically, these are used in bathrooms or places of commerce to mark a floor that is wet and slippery. These signs reinforce their message with the image of a human being slipping on a floor.

In some cases, a warning sign needs to convey more information. These signs may not be warnings of an imminent hazard and are instead intended as safety instruction signs. OSHA specifies that these signs should consist of a white background with a green panel that contains white letters. However, if the letters are on a white background instead, the letters have to be colored black.

This is just a general overview of how safety signs should convey information to the public. You may need to consult with legal counsel to learn of other weaknesses in alerting you of a hazardous situation. Since trips and fall accidents occur in many ways, do not read this information as legal advice. It is only intended for educational benefit.