Summary: Hazards are present in every industry, and it is the employer’s responsibility to reduce the risk or eliminate the hazard entirely. Signs are excellent safety communication tools that can inform people on how to stay safe and increase safety awareness. These signs are standardised, and you will need to find the right type of signs for your business.
Each industry has particular threats to employees and those on site (some more than others). It is the responsibility of the employer to take the necessary steps to either eliminate or reduce these hazards, and you can achieve this in many different ways.
One of the key ways is by investing in signs and placing these at appropriate places around the premises. These signs are communication tools that can help to indicate hazards, educate people on where to go in emergency situations and prescribe behaviours. In addition to educating people, these signs can also increase safety awareness which can help to stop accidents from occurring.
The signs use pictograms, text and stark colours to communicate their message. Like road signs, these often work subconsciously, and the individual will take on the message without even realising it. However, sign blindness can occur where they no longer notice the sign. You can avoid this by moving the sign from time to time. In addition to succinctly communicating their message, these hazard sign can overcome language barriers, so they are particularly valuable if you have members of the public onsite.
There are a number of safety signs which come in a variety of shapes and colours, and they are all standardised. Here is all you need to know so that you can pick out the right ones for your business.
- Red – Demonstrates unsafe actions or can also show where firefighting equipment is kept.
- Yellow – A hazard sign that notifies individuals to take caution in the area.
- Blue – Actions or behaviours which you must follow (such as wearing safety clothing).
- Green – Shows the location of emergency equipment, such as first-aid kits and fire exits.
- Triangles – Triangles indicate both potential and definite hazards (toxic gas, for example).
- Circles – Circles indicate mandatory or recommended actions (wear safety goggles etc.).
- Squares – Provide general information, such as first-aid procedures.
- Circle with a diagonal slash – Prohibited or forbidden actions, such as no smoking.
To establish which signs you need in your workplace, you must carry out a risk assessment for each area. The assessment should involve analysing what work employees perform in the area and the dangers that are present. It is also worth asking your employees what hazards they face in their role as there may be threats that you might overlook. This risk assessment will allow you to create a list of hazards, draw up appropriate actions and identify which signs you will require.
Signs are fantastic safety communication tools that are a key way to combat hazards in the workplace and educate individuals on staying safe at all times.