Exploring the Standards for Safety Signs and Tags
If your company is working at a construction site, you must take care to follow all of the OSHA regulations regarding worksite safety. One regulation that many companies fail to follow properly is OSHA 29 CFR 1926.200, or “Accident Prevention Signs and Tags.”
This is the section of the OSHA rules and regulations that deals specifically with which types of signs and tags must be used on construction sites, as well as when they should and shouldn’t be used. One nice thing about the OSHA guidelines is that they are extremely specific on what your safety signs and tags should look like, as well as how and when they should be displayed.
OSHA 1926.200 Section Summaries
This set of guidelines governs a number of different types of accident prevention safety signs and tags. It also provides requirements concerning when the signs should be displayed, and what the signs should look like. It is essential to have a good understanding of this section, as well as investing in signs that are OSHA compliant.
The danger signs mandated by OSHA follow a very specific color scheme, which is recognized throughout the country. The upper third of the sign must have a black background, with a red oval containing the word ‘DANGER’ written in bold, white lettering. On the bottom of the sign are the words, “SAFETY GLASSES MUST BE WORN AT ALL TIMES” in large black letters against a white background.
This type of sign must be displayed any time work is being performed in the area and an immediate hazard is present. When the work has ended, and the danger is no longer present, this sign must either be taken down, or covered up.
These safety signs are used to provide a warning about a potential hazard in the area. The signs must be primarily yellow, with the word ‘CAUTION’ written against a black background at the top. On the bottom portion of the sign, black lettering can be used to convey the message about the potential risk.
These signs can either have words, such as ‘OPEN SLOWLY’ written on the bottom area, or you may use symbols to represent the danger.
This section of the OSHA regulations mandates that all doorways on the construction site are marked with a safety sign that identifies it as either an exit, or not an exit. All doors that lead to an exit need to be labeled with a white sign with large red letters saying, ‘EXIT.’ This sign must be a minimum of six inches high with the width of the lettering being a minimum of three fourths of an inch wide.
Informational Safety Signs
Safety signs should be used throughout a construction site to provide instruction on how to keep the area safe. The sign should have a green background for the heading, with white letters that spell out the primary message. The lower portion of the sign should be black lettering on a white background.
These signs could be used to tell people to keep area clean or that hard hats are recommended, or any number of other safety related instructions.
Virtually all construction sites today will have vehicles which drive through the area. Areas of potential hazards related to these vehicles should be marked off with traffic control signs. These signs must be in compliance with the ANSI D6.1-1971 (Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highway Standards) set of standards.
In addition, all the signs must be made in such a way that they will be legible when seen from the type of vehicles that are likely to be used on the construction site.
Accident Prevention Tags
Safety tags are to be used to provide quick safety information to employees working in the area. They are most often to address temporary situations. Some common examples of how accident prevention tags are used on construction sites would be to mark tools that are not working properly, or other equipment that may be malfunctioning. They could also be used to identify defective construction materials, such as wood or metal beams that have a problem.
The following is the formula for what each tag’s colors and text should be.
|White Background||Red Ink||Text saying Do Not Operate|
|White Background||Black and Red Ink||Text saying Danger|
|Yellow Background||Black Ink||Text saying Caution|
|White background||Black Ink||Text saying Out of Order Do Not Use|
It should be noted that these tags should never be used as a replacement to safety signs. They can, however, be used in conjunction with them in order to further clarify a safety message.
Creating Safety Signs and Tags
There are many very detailed requirements OSHA has for safety signs and tags, and it is important that every one of them are followed. This can be difficult if you have to order the signs and tags from a third party company every time they are needed.
To make it easier for a company to remain in compliance with OSHA 1926.200, it is a good idea to purchase a LabelTac industrial label printer that is able to create these types of signs and labels on the fly. Keeping a compact printer and label stock in one of the offices or trailers will allow you to easily print off a sign when the need arises.
This will help you avoid any inadvertent OSHA violations, and help to keep everyone working in and around the job site nice and safe. These printers also make creating signs and tags much more affordable, so you won’t hesitate to put up some of the optional (yet still very helpful) signs throughout the site.
Whenever working on any construction site, the most important thing is to minimize the risk of any accidents or injuries. Following the OSHA guidelines and regulations at all times is one of the best ways to improve the overall safety of any area, so take the time to understand which signs and labels your company will need, and print them off so they can be properly displayed.
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