Improving Hazard Communications with Vinyl Labels
As you may recall, last week I wrote about a recent study that uncovered that hazard communications were at the heart of many of the most significant safety challenges in facilities today. In that article I went over how floor tape can help convey critical information, and improve the way your facility alerts employees to potential hazards throughout the company. Today I’m writing about how vinyl labels can really help take this essential communication to the next level, and improve the safety of the entire facility.
While vinyl labels (which can be found here) might not seem like they should be a key component of a facility’s safety improvement program, in reality, they really can be. If you use labels properly, they can quickly alert people to a wide range of different hazards throughout the facility. The trick here is to learn exactly how to make the best use out of these convenient labels.
How Vinyl Labels Improve Communication
All facilities have a huge number of hazards that are present on a daily basis. Everything from the chemicals being stored to the movement of the machinery can cause serious injury if people aren’t careful. The best way to keep everyone alert and watching out for hazards is by identifying risks, and drawing attention to them as quickly as possible.
Since it is possible to create high quality, custom vinyl labels that convey the exact message that you need, these simple labels can help to dramatically improve the overall communication within a facility. There is no shortage of ways that these labels can be used, but the following are just a few examples of how many facilities have benefited from the use of vinyl labels:
- Labeling Hazardous Chemicals Applying labels on any container where hazardous chemicals are stored is an excellent way to communicate the risk. Following the OSHA GHS labeling standards for labeling the containers will ensure anyone using them is aware of the contents, and how to use the chemical safely.
- Locating Emergency Equipment Creating large vinyl labels that will help people to find emergency equipment such as fire extinguishers, AED’s, emergency eye wash stations (example found here) and more is a great idea. You can apply the labels on the walls or anywhere that would indicate this equipment is nearby.
- Labeling Pipes Depending on what is traveling through the pipes, it may actually be a legal requirement to have them labeled. Regardless of the regulations, however, it is always helpful to have pipes properly labeled so anyone working on them knows exactly what is in them, so they can take proper precautions.
- Identifying Specific Inventory Some things within a facility, such as heavy machinery or vehicles, need to have maintenance performed on them on a regular basis. If the maintenance is not done, it can create a severe safety hazard. By labeling each of these items, you’ll be able to keep track of what maintenance needs to be done, and when. This can not only help to improve safety, but also extend the usable life of many different types of equipment.
Each facility will likely be able to find dozens of great uses for these labels. A simple walk through each area will help to find potential hazards, so you can make labels that will improve the hazard communication in that area.
Creating Custom Labels
While it is possible to order custom vinyl labels from any number of third party printers, a growing number of companies are investing in their own industrial label maker so they can create new labels on the fly. With a high quality industrial label maker (like the LabelTac printers), you’ll be able to create the exact labels you need right in your own facility. This is a great way to not only improve communication options, but also save money in the long run. Using third party printers is quite expensive on a per label basis, so having one of these printers on site will dramatically cut these costs down.
Having an onsite label printer also opens up the possibility of using vinyl labels in many new and helpful ways. The fact that the labels will cost so little means you can use them for many more things. In addition, creating customized labels that look exactly how you want them is much easier when you’re working on an industrial label maker right in your own facility. Purchasing one of these printers is certainly something all facilities should consider whenever working on improving their hazard communications.
Another way vinyl labels can help improve the communication within a facility is by helping to improve the organization. When things are out of place or otherwise a mess, it is almost impossible to properly do your job. In addition, disorder naturally makes it harder to communicate clearly. With this in mind, you can use these labels to help identify where items go, and direct people on how to take care of specific things throughout the facility. While each facility will have their own standards, these are a few great ways vinyl labels may be able to help:
- Personal Protection Equipment Storage Many facilities offer their employees personal protection equipment for when they are working in a specific are. Most of the time, however, this equipment is not in use. Having it properly stored will ensure everyone can find their equipment, and put it on fast, during an emergency. Labeling each storage location with a vinyl label will help make this a reality.
- Organizing Tools Most facilities have a wide range of different tools that are kept on site to do different jobs. Unless there is a set organizational structure in place, these tools will end up all placed in a drawer, making it impossible to find what you need. Instead, consider labeling each tool as well as the location where it needs to be stored.
- Inventory Organization Just about all facilities will need to store inventory while it is not being used. This typically means placing different items on shelves to keep them safe and out of the way. Over time, these shelves can get quite unorganized, making it hard to find what you need. These types of delays can affect everything from the productivity to the safety of the facility. Using vinyl labels to list exactly which items go where will help ensure this does not become a problem.
- Emergency Drills Whenever holding an emergency drill, whether for fires or severe weather, you need to ensure everyone gathers together in one place to be accounted for. Using these labels can help you to identify exactly where people will need to meet during specific drills. Of course, this will also apply in the event that there is a real emergency.
Effective and Affordable
One of the best things about using vinyl labels to improve not only hazard communications, but the functionality of the facility as a whole is that it is such an effective solution. There are few things that can help in as many ways as these labels. In addition, printing off custom labels is extremely affordable, so there won’t be any issues with having to budget for these types of things. Everyone in a facility can benefit from the use of these labels, so why not look into using them in your own facility to help keep everyone safe, organized and efficient.