Where health and safety is concerned, signage is an important tool for communication within any business. It highlights the risks and hazards within a workplace and helps to create a safe and secure working environment for employees. Over the years, there have been multiple incidents involving workers losing their lives or becoming seriously ill at work, and a lot of these incidents could have been prevented with better care and health and safety signage.
Signs can be used in many environments and in many professions to better protect people and prevent poor health and safety. Warehouses and offices, to construction sites and schools, for example, can all benefit from additional signs and prompts. They help everyone in the setting to follow the right rules and prevent any minor to major injury.
What does your business need to know when it comes to health and safety signs? Here are some of the things to keep in mind for your work setting.
What is a safety sign?
A health and safety sign provides information and instruction about how to stay safe at work or while in a certain area. You can usually find them in a range of colours with different symbols. As an employer, it’s important to know what each sign means, where to put a safety sign, as well as how to educate your staff about any potential hazards in the workplace.
Different colours mean different things in health and safety, and you need to know what these colours show to keep you and your employees safe:
Red signs indicate that there is a high risk of danger, and often that actions need to be taken to prevent a serious injury from occurring. They may also show a forbidden action, such as no smoking or no use of mobile phones in a particular area.
Blue signs signify mandatory instructions. These instructions are usually placed alongside a danger zone or warning sign to emphasise the need for extra precaution.
Yellow signs mean that you should take extra steps to ensure your safety. These signs must have a clear image of the hazard, hence their name, hazard signs.
Green signs provide safety information such as exit routes or first aid areas. There may also be text prompts indicating what a person should do to stay safe, such as the direction of a fire exit or assembly point.
Common health and safety symbols.
Every workplace should have at least one health and safety sign. There are some more common symbols than others, and it’s likely that many workplaces will all have some of the same health and safety signs. Here are just a small fraction of the signs that you may need to think about when keeping your workplace safe for all employees.
No smoking areas are often indicated with an image of a cigarette with a red circle and line. Because this symbol is recognised so widely around the world, there is often no reason for text to accompany the image.
Flammable symbols are placed on yellow hazard signs to indicate a warning of highly flammable substances which will ignite when exposed.
Blue instructional signs signifying eye protection or encouraging employees to wear a helmet is common in the construction or engineering industries, to name a few.
All workplaces should have a green fire exit sign situated in a safe area. As one of the first things to mention to a new employee, a fire exit sign is a helpful prompt of where to go in case the fire alarm is set off.
Do your employees know their health and safety signs?
It’s essential to have the right health and safety signage around your workplace to keep employees safe and to highlight any possible risks. Do your research, educate your staff, and you’ll have an organised workforce who are aware of how to keep safe and avoid any injuries.