Did you know that only 10% of what we hear is retained while an overwhelming 75% of what we see is retained? Yes, this is true and has been proven through scientific reason. Most people tend to be visual learners which means that they can reason, comprehend, and interact with visual input far better versus any other type of input. This is one of the reasons why it is so important for safety signs to be made visual within industrial work environments. Here are some tips to help make visual safety signs within your facility more effective.
1. Train Employees about Hazards and Corresponding Signage
The first step is to train employees about the importance of safety signs within the facility. Employees should be shown the actual signs they will or may encounter out in the facility and be informed of what each sign means. Even though it may seem like a tedious task to show employees’ signs that you assume are self-explanatory, it really is very helpful for employees to be exposed and informed about the signs before they are encountered out on the actual work floor.
2. Utilize Pictures when Able
The old saying goes, “actions speak louder than words,” but for safety signage the saying should go “pictures speak louder than words.” Since humans are known to be such visual learners we tend to respond to and comprehend things quicker if they are in picture form. For example, if there is a safety sign warning employees about using personal protective equipment before entering a zone, instead of having it all written out in words on a sign, it would be comprehended much faster if the sign stated: “Warning PPE Required” and then featured a simple picture of goggles, gloves or a jumpsuit.
3. Use OSHA/ANSI Color Coding Standards
OSHA and ANSI have worked together to incorporate a set of universal color codes that should be used to communicate the possibility of different hazards. The color coding is important because certain colors indicate different risks. For example, the color red often indicates fire protection equipment, danger, or to stop. This coding is used regarding nearly any safety signage, from wall signs to floor marking tape.
4. Locate Areas Needing Safety Signage
This is a very important step in making safety signs visual and applicable. A walk through the facility should be conducted to really investigate and determine where specific safety risks are and whether a safety sign should be posted. It is recommended that a few people do the walk through together, since different people see different things and diverse perspectives are often helpful.
5. Choose the Appropriate Type of Sign
There are wide array of different safety signs available such as wall signs, floor signs, standing signs, etc. It is important to determine which sign is appropriate for conveying the type of message. For example, if a work area encounters a spill which is hazardous for trips and slips, but mainly temporary as it will be cleaned up shortly, a standing sign may be a good choice. Standing signs can be set-up quickly and are usually bright yellow to quickly indicate that caution must be used in the area.
6. Post Safety Signs in easy-to-see areas
It wouldn’t make much sense posting a safety sign on the ceiling if nobody is ever going to see it. Signs need to be posted in easy-to-see areas in order to be effective. The reason safety signs are posted is to protect the safety of people in the facility, and signs must be posted with that in mind. Safety signs should be posted at somewhat of an eye level, signs that are posted too high or too low or underneath or behind things are not nearly as effective as safety signs posted within the level of sight.
Safety signs are a must-have within any industrial setting; they convey messages to employees and visitors that are crucial to their safety and well-being. If safety signs are not visible or just blend into the background, they will not be effective. For instance, if a supervisor warns employees about a certain safety hazard in an area but neglects to post safety signage about the hazard, many employees may forget as they approach the hazard later in the day simply because it had been a long day and they forgot. Safety signs serve as constant visual reminders of possible hazards and must be taken seriously.
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