There have been more than 5,500 fatal work injuries in the last few years. Although there was a slight decline in the last year, improving workplace safety is still a necessary step that all facilities need to adopt.
Safety signs and labels are the most effective way of ensuring a safe workplace. They provide clear visual communication and increase efficiency throughout the facility. But, how do you ensure you get the most out of your safety signs?
Here are seven safety sign practices to help you with that:
1. Understand OSHA Requirements on Signage
One of the most fundamental safety sign best practices is ensuring the signs and labels in your workplace meet the Occupational Safety Health Act. You can do this by making sure that the color and size of words facilitate easy visibility, even from a distance.
As such, employers are advised to use the latest standards for signs and printing new labels. Although not mandatory, consider regularly updating the signs and labels for maximum visibility as signs tend to fade with time.
2. Know the Types of Safety Signs
Understanding the different types of safety signs allows you to use them correctly for the probable safety hazards. In turn, your employees are able to adopt the necessary protective measures to avoid accidents.
Generally, there are three types of safety signs: danger signs, warning signs, and caution signs. Knowing where to use each of these signs facilitates effective communication, minimizing injuries.
For instance, placing the danger sign on an ongoing renovation site communicates that the area should be completely avoided by the employees. Caution signs, on the other hand, signal that the hazards described may result in minor or moderate injuries, thus employees should wear protective clothing or tread carefully.
Other common types of safety signage include:
- Notices: Instructions and rules that should be adhered to help minimize the risks of accidents.
- Admittance: Alerts that explain the dangers associated with entering the restricted area.
- Non-Hazard Signs: These signs communicate general safety messages such as the nearest exits points and fire assembly points.
3. Place Safety Signs Appropriately
Placing safety signs may seem pretty straightforward but it’s quite a task that requires strict adherence to OSHA rules of sign placement.
The rules outline that the signs should be placed as close and as safely as possible to the nearby hazard and must be visible from a distance – at least 5 feet away. This ensures that the workers are able to respond to it appropriately before being exposed to the hazard.
Moreover, the sign itself shouldn’t put the workers in more danger by either blocking their view or path of escape. The signs should also have blunt corners without splinters or burrs.
4. Not All Signs Fit Everywhere
Although all safety signs serve the same purpose, they’re not a one-size fits all affair. Therefore, you should invest in safety signs that complement the environment of your workplace.
For instance, in underground minefields, it’s recommended to use reflective safety signs as they facilitate visibility in the low light. In addition, signs should not be placed in places that they’re easily damaged.
5. Customize Your Safety Signs
Depending on your work environment, you may need more than the common types of safety signs. Fortunately, OSHA allows the customization of safety signs to meet your industrial needs.
However, when designing the signs, ensure that they’re compliant with the pre-set guidelines on how to design signs.
Basically, the sign should always start with a header that signals the level of alertness such as Danger, Warning, Caution, or Notice. A graphic safety symbol should follow, and after that, the message panel should be below.
To avoid confusion the signs should be consistent in their design throughout your facility.
6. Sign and Label Maintenance
It’s easy for the visibility of safety signs and labels to reduce as a result of fading. This demands that the signs should be properly maintained by regularly cleaning them to maintain their legibility. If some letters are fading away, it’s best that you replace the safety sign.
Most importantly, you should schedule an inspection to evaluate your facility’s signs. This gives you the opportunity to check on the damaged ones and those that might be missing.
7. Back Up Your Safety Signs With Additional Safety Practices
In addition to using safety signs, you need to keep tabs with your insurer to help you update your facility’s safety measures. This not only guarantees the safety of your employees but also saves you paying costly insurance premiums associated with the lack of using the right precautionary measures.
Your employees should also be trained on first aid as well as other emergency responses. This minimizes the risk of fatalities and makes the employees more cautious. On the same note, first aid supplies should be within the easy reach of every employee.
Also, after an incident happens, ensure you review it with your employees. In so doing, you’re able to identify any mishaps and make the needed changes to your safety policy for better emergency response.
Improve Your Employees’ Safety with Safety Signs
Even though accidents are unpredictable, using safety signs have proven to be an effective method of minimizing workplace accidents.
They help keep the employees safe which in turn makes them productive by knowing their safety is prioritized. You also won’t have to deal with any downtime caused by unforeseen emergencies. To guarantee the effectiveness of the safety signs and labels, be sure to follow the seven tips above.
Feel free to contact us for all your industrial safety equipment needs.