Many businesses need and even require the use of safety signs to warn employees and customers of potentially hazardous areas. However, the task of finding the right signs to portray the right message, along with finding a reputable company to provide the signs may be more difficult than originally intended. We are here to ease some of that burden with 10 helpful tips for finding the right safety signs to satisfy your business needs.
1. Identify Areas that May Need Safety Signs
Before even beginning a search for a safety sign supplier, the first step in the process should be to accurately identify any areas within your facility that may be in need of safety signage. Think of all areas used by employees and/or customers such as aisles, walkways, fork lift zones, hazardous waste areas, potential slippery surface areas, etc. The key here is to identify all the locations that could pose hazardous conditions so proper signage can be created.
2. Pinpoint Potential Safety Hazards.
Once certain areas have been designated as potentially hazardous, the next step would be to determine the actual safety hazards in the area that pose risks. An example of this could include an area where liquids are routinely transported. In this case, a spill may be likely which could endanger employees or customers due to the enhanced risk of a slip or fall.
3. Determine the Message to be Conveyed by the Signage
Signs are posted everywhere, from “Watch Your Step” signs to “Employees Only” signs. However, for a sign to be truly effective it must convey a clean and clear message that can be understood easily by nearly anyone. For instance, in a work environment that includes welding, safety signs warning of potential arc flashes may be needed. In this case, a sign should be posted instructing anyone who enters to wear proper protective gear, this sign could read “Warning: Arc Flash Zone Proper Protection Required.”
4. Consider the Conditions where the Signs will be Located
Now that you have determined the locations, hazards, and messages for the signs, it is time to consider the conditions. This is a crucial element towards making a decision on sign choice even though it may seem like a minor detail. Different areas require different types of signs. Dark areas may need glow in the dark or highly reflective signs, while wet areas may need water resistant or water proof signs. The type of sign you choose should be appropriate for the conditions of the area.
5. Determine Sign Type
What type of sign would suit each area best? Could it be a wall sign, a floor sign or a standing sign? Whether your intent is to use signage to guide forklifts along a pathway, or to ensure that safety goggles are worn when entering through a doorway, you must consider the best placement of your safety message so everyone can see it easily.
6. OHSA Standards
It is important to keep OHSA standards in mind when choosing the coloring of your signage. OSHA designates that red, black, and white signs must indicate danger, while signs that indicate caution must have a yellow background with black lettering. Furthermore, safety signs should always have either a white background with black lettering or be green with white lettering. OSHA keeps this type of color coding in place because employees should be trained on the same color scheme no matter the business so they can quickly and easily identify which colors indicate what type of risk.
7. Locate a Reputable Signage Company
Not all signage companies are the same. In fact, some may deliver inferior products that may not withstand workplace conditions as well as others. Make sure to do your research when choosing a company to purchase safety signs from. Some key things to look for include customer feedback, how long the business has been in operation, and even speaking with a customer service representative regarding product performance can assist in your decision making.
8. Clearly Indicate Signage Needs to the Chosen Signage Company
This tip goes hand-in-hand with tip number 7. Once you do make contact with a reputable signage company, let them know your business needs and concerns, many times a representative from the signage company will be willing to help make suggestions. However, make sure you are meeting all safety needs with the signs you decide to purchase.
9. Post Signs in Easy-to-See Locations
Once your signs have arrived, it is time to post them up. Depending upon the type of sign you have chosen to purchase, your duty is to find an appropriate place to put it. Whether it is a floor sign, wall sign, or standing sign make sure it is placed in a very visual location so it is not overlooked by employees or customers.
10. Monitor Signage Often
After the signs have been posted, the job is not over. Instead, it is now time to monitor the signs. Are the signs being seen and followed by employees and customers? Are the signs holding up to the physical demands of the workspace conditions? Do signs need to be rearranged or relocated for better awareness? These are some questions that should be routinely asked after signage has been applied and changes should be made accordingly.
- Understanding the ISO 7010 Standard for Safety Signs
- ANSI Color Coding
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- Seven Simple & Effective Manufacturing Safety Tips
- Hazard Communications – Signs
- National Safety Month Week 4: Warehouse Traffic Safety