Industrial floor signs, used in factories and other work floors, have a variety of uses. These can range from simply helping employees find their way around to facilitating lean projects and other endeavors. Just to show you how versatile these floor signs are, here are seven unique uses for industrial floor signs. As you read through, be sure think about which ones could improve visual communication in your business. If you don’t see any direct useful applications for your own workplace (though I’d find that hard to believe!) you might be able to make tweaks and changes to make some of them more relevant to you.
1. Identifying Staging Areas
In most factories, a series of staging areas make up the production process. Each step has its own distinct purpose and occupies a space to fulfill that purpose – for example, where cars might be painted just before they’re shipped out, or where Santa’s elves might paint the eyes onto a doll before loading it onto a sleigh (ha!). In all seriousness, quickly identifying which operations take place where is a crucial element of running an efficient assembly process. Using industrial floor signs to denote various staging areas and let workers know easily what happens where is an easy, visual way to get a message across. As you’ll see in the other uses to follow, most floor sign applications are simply about utilizing underused space (open areas of the floor) and underused senses (we’re used to talking through instructions but not always illustrating them) in unison.
2. Safety & First Aid
In any sort of physical or chemical labor environment, a multitude of worker safeguards have to be in place. Because accidents are (ideally) so few and far between, however, it may be the case that workers forget segments of their safety training by the time they are finally called upon to act in an emergency. In a potentially panicked and overwhelming situation, it’s smart to rely on visual aids to assist or supplement memory. Floor signs can be positioned under, near, or on the way to emergency eye wash stations, first aid kits, fire extinguishers, emergency shutoff panels, alarms, and more. Industrial floor signs are already on the market in abundance for such situations, so there’s no reason not to incorporate them into your emergency procedures.
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3. LEAN and 5S Products
If you’re in a goods-producing industry, you’re probably familiar with at least a few LEAN principles. Aimed at maximizing efficiency and minimizing waste, LEAN techniques have been tried and tested over several decades now. One method, the 5S system for organizational projects, involves sorting a cluttered room or space into piles of items based on frequency of use and their current relevance to your business. In such projects, industrial floor signs can serve as a great tool for designating “holding areas” for items waiting to be either removed long term or replaced after cleaning is complete. As for general LEAN applications, you can simply use the floor signs for finished goods, or materials to be returned to stock, or any other category that makes sense for your own industry.
4. Personal Protection Equipment
Certain areas in the workplace are more dangerous than others, and some of them to the point that personal protection equipment, also known as PPE, is required. For areas in which things like protective glasses or goggles, gloves, suits, shoes, or other PPE are required, simply place a floor sign on the ground partitioning off the area. Many such “X and X required beyond this point” type signs exist, and can help give employees a simple reminder that they need to suit up before jumping into the danger zone, so to speak. While there are many factors affecting PPE compliance, one of the most commonly cited is that a worker simply forgot to change up their routine and don the PPE when they entered a new area, making smart use of your floor signs can help to eliminate this problem all but completely.
5. Misc. Navigation
Much in the same way floor signs can help people find emergency and safety stations during an emergency, they can also be used as the default marking system for exits, evacuations routes, or to indicated the flow of traffic in a certain aisle or lane. While these uses can also be emergency related, they do not have to be. Additionally, these can be useful for guests or those not used to being in your factory, such as inspectors, visiting management, new or temporary employees, and other individuals involved with your work but not directly employed by the company (such as delivery men, etc.). These can not only help make your workplace safer, but also insulate you from lawsuits if these individuals are in your factory during a fire, earthquake, or other potentially life-threatening occurrence.
6. Object Placements
A major barrier to efficiency in any business is organization, and over time nearly every single workplace will become more and more disorganized as objects are moved from their original homes for use and then left out. Things like garbage and recycling bins, cleaning materials, parking for forklifts and other work related vehicles, or even pallets for various materials and inputs can all have their respected areas marked with floor signs. When an area is clearly marked, there’s little to no ambiguity as to where things are supposed to be replaced, which then shifts the onus of organization onto employees and leaves less excuses for messes left. In most cases, employees will also appreciate the extra guidance as you’re laying out clear, visual instructions for what may have originally been an undefined, or at least not well-defined, aspect of the job.
7. Rules of the Road
Finally, industrial floor signs can simply be used as a way to direct the flow of traffic in a workplace, much in the way street signs and traffic lights help roads from descending into utter chaos. Floor signs for Stop, Yield, and other traffic ques can help prevent accidents in a busy workplace, especially in cases where machinery and vehicles are operated in close vicinity to workers that are on foot. Other ideas could include signs that instruct employees, customers, or machine operators to visually check (“Look Both Ways…”) before crossing a warehouse lane or potentially busy intersection. While it may seem efficient to allow traffic flow in whatever direction need dictates, having one way lanes can not only be safer, but help avoid unnecessary delays in production.
Where to Buy Industrial Floor Signs
Creative Safety Supply is a great place to buy your floor signs as they offer hundreds of different industrial floor signs to meet your needs. If you need a customized floor sign made, Creative Safety Supply can take anything on and follow through with top customer service and fast delivery.
Industrial floor signs are a whole lot more than just a bright, shiny sticker on the floor, but even that can better serve your business than a plain blank tile in the middle of your factory. Just in the same way shelving, tagboard, and other things help you make use of your vertical and wall space, take advantage of the fact that every room has a floor. Efficiency is all about using what you’ve got and using well, and floor signs, simply put, allot you to do exactly that.