Safety signage and your workplace
It’s interesting how many things could seriously injure or even be fatal in the workplace. Similarly, it is becoming more common that people become complacent in the working environment. Even people who work with high-risk equipment, electricity, chemicals, and other risks can quickly disregard the risks if it were not for constant reminders all around them, and that’s where the importance of safety signage comes in.
Safety signage in the workplace has evolved with the Industrial Revolution when workplace safety became a significant concern. Even now, we find statistics showing that 3751 workers have had fatal accidents in their workplace between the year 2003 and 2018, according to SWA (Safe Work Australia).
Why have safety signs in the workplace?
The most apparent reason why safety signage is necessary is that risks and danger are not always apparent. Some things such as chemicals, hot metals, and live wires don’t always look dangerous but can injure just as easily. Proper signage draws people’s attention to the danger present in the area and forces them to take action to mitigate the risk of injury.
Today, regulatory organisations like SWA mandate the implementation of workplace safety to protect the lives of workers. This includes placing relevant safety signs as designated by ANSI standards. Employers have a duty of care to people who work under them, just as workers have a duty of care to their colleagues. Safety is everyone’s’ responsibility not just the managers or CEOs.
Workplaces that lack the necessary safety signs in place not only flout safety regulations but also can incur hefty fines and regulatory action should the organisation be audited by Safe Work Australia. If accidents happen and it is determined that proper safety signs were missing, the employer or other responsible parties would be legally liable. In addition to SWA, the Department of Labor (DoL) also keeps a close check on workplace safety and enforces them enthusiastically.
Classifications of safety signs at the workplace
Safety signs in the workplace are currently standardised around the world to convey a particular message. Graphics, images, and text are all carefully designed to pass on the intended message even when workers are not paying conscious attention.
You will recognise four main designs
- Red – for immediate danger and shows that action should be taken or something is prohibited
- Yellow – for precaution to ensure safety
- Blue – for mandatory instructions
- Green – for safety signs and first aid.
These are signs which have instructions. If one fails to comply, they are charged with a breach of safety procedures, an offense of law, or other directions are taken. The action taken depends on the type of control imposed at the workplace or worksite. These signs include;
These are signs that communicate that a particular activity is strictly not allowed. They state that specific behavior or action is not permitted. The sign is usually a black icon indicating action and has a red circle and a red slash. For a text, it usually is black with a white background.
These signs show that a specific command must be done. They have particular instructions that have to be carried out. Usually, the safety signage is white, surrounded by a blue circle. The texts are generally black on a white background.
For safety work procedures, warning signs are put in place to signify a hazardous situation or hazard that will be unlikely to be life-threatening. Warning signs usually have a black triangle and an icon. It can also have a supporting text written in black. All warning signs have a yellow background.
Fire safety signs
Fire safety signs usually display where fire alarms and firefighting equipment are located. These signs have text on a red background written in white/ white symbols on a red background.
Emergency signs usually communicate the directions or locations of emergency facilities in the building. They can include First Aid, Exits, and Safety Equipment. The emergency signage is usually depicted as white text or symbols on a green background. During an evacuation due to an emergency, it is vital to look out for an evacuation diagram that contains directions, locations, fire equipment locations, and where the emergency assembly is located.
These are signs that are used to signify a specific hazardous condition or hazard can be life-threatening. Danger signs convey information about a life-threatening hazard or unsafe situation that people need to be aware of. The sign has a red oval over a black rectangle written Danger. The text is usually black on a white background.
General information signs
General Information Signs are very popular and available due to demand. They have information of general nature and mostly refer to logistics, company practices, and housekeeping. They can be depicted in numerous styles and formats.
Improved safety benefits everyone
One of the most essential and visible contributors to safe and strong safety cultures and workplace health are safety signs. They deliver numerous practical and quantifiable benefits to every organisation time and time again.
Safety signs may seem small and insignificant, but helping companies understand the benefits is vital. Not only does it increase efficiency in the workplace, but it also saves the organisation a lot of money in the long run.
Get your workplace fitted out with the right safety signs
While thousands of people get seriously injured every year at the workplace, these numbers would be much higher if there were no safety signage displayed throughout the workplace. The introduction of safety signage in the workplace has seen a reduction in the number of workplace related injuries and deaths.
Safety signage means that employers and employees alike are able to take steps to reduce the risk of potential injuries by mitigating risks and taking action. The importance of safety signage cannot be overstated! They protect lives, and they enable the workplace to remain compliant and safe for work. If you are unsure about the state of safety compliance at your workplace or need to have new signage installed, contact Safety Maps today for a free evaluation.