Meaning of light beacon colours across industries

Most of us come across some form of light beacon in our day-to-day lives. Some of them we don’t even think about. They are used across many industries and under many different circumstances. Anything from traffic lights to police cars, emergency vehicles, the dashboard of your vehicle, on the sea, or at work. They are available in different sizes, shapes, colours and different power sources. Here, we will look at what they are and the meaning of light beacon colours across industries.

What are they

A light beacon is an electrical system that provides a visual signal to indicate a warning or hazardous situation. They come as a single-coloured beacon or in multi-coloured as with traffic lights. You can get hard-wired light beacons, such as security lights, or battery-operated ones like those in lifejackets. They can flash, strobe, revolve, or remain static. The lights themselves come in different types, such as LED or Xenon gas, and they have a range of brightness as well as colours.


Although the light beacon is used across many different industries and for a range of circumstances, the different colours are reasonably uniform throughout. This means that no matter where you are if you see a light beacon, you can understand what the colour is indicating without having to study each industry’s practices. It also means that the public will understand the signals too. The following list is the generally accepted meanings of each colour.

  • Amber/yellow – warning, be careful, go slow, take caution, prepare to stop
  • Red – emergency, danger, fire, stop
  • Blue – law enforcement, security, a change has occurred, alternative to red when red is used as a fire warning
  • Green – safe, normal, all clear, go
  • Magenta/purple – alternative to red (mostly used in the oil and gas industries)
  • White – has better long-range visibility than the other colours and is used in search and rescue scenarios or lighthouses

Using the right colour light beacon for the circumstance is essential to the safety and well-being of everyone. A green light beacon does not instil the sense of danger that a red one would and could cause confusion. So, sticking to the socially and industry accepted norms for colour meanings keeps everyone on the same page.


When it comes to choosing a light beacon, the first thing you need to know is its purpose. Is it to signal a warning, an all-clear, or to pinpoint a location? Whatever you need a light beacon for you can be sure to get quality products and expert advice from the team at RS.

Light beacons are a very important part of safety, but only if everyone understands what they are trying to signal. That’s why the colours used and what they are used for are standard throughout industries and society. After all, what is the point of a warning system if not everyone understands what its trying to point out? To get the right light beacon contact the team at RS today.

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