Just as people see signs every day on roadways that help direct them as to which way to go and what to do, this method is also similarly how safety signage can improve jobsite safety. For individuals on the job, especially those environments involving dangerous chemicals, temperatures, or outdoor exposure, it is critical to follow the safety rules in place—for themselves and the people around them.
The challenge becomes people getting so immersed in work that safety protocol can unintentionally take a back seat to the matters at hand. It is primarily for this reason that thoughtfully placed safety signage can improve jobsite safety.
5 Ways Safety Signage Can Improve Jobsite Safety
While job safety is generally part of state and federal requirements for the workplace, overall, it is a preventative measure in keeping people inside and outside of the jobsite safe. Five ways safety signage can improve jobsite safety include:
- Alerting individuals to potential dangers – Signage can be used for both obvious and invisible dangers but may prove to be even more effective for the latter. While it may make sense to wear a hard hat while walking through an active construction zone, it may not be as apparent to a worker to take regular breaks and hydrate when working in intense heat. A simple glance at a sign during the course of the workday may be the reminder an employee needs to take care of themselves so they can be safer and more productive.
- Creating awareness of surroundings – Some safety signs may be more temporary. For example, a wet floor that is still slick after having mopped up a spill will require a temporary “Caution—wet slippery floor” sign to ensure that people take care when approaching and can safely avoid a slip and fall situation. These signs are instrumental in creating awareness of an individual’s surroundings.
- Keeping workers and the community safe – Many jobsites have a danger level that could potentially affect their coworkers and the greater community. A spill or fire at a chemical plant could cause a shelter in place order to go into effect, which can affect the surrounding area of the plant as well. Highly visible safety signage can be an excellent way to prompt workers to take into account what is at stake and to practice due diligence when on the job.
- Minimizing accidents – Many jobs have a consistent element of danger onsite, whether it’s the possibility of falling debris at a construction website, chemical spillage at a plant, or overheating in a factory. While employees are aware of these dangers, safety signage is an excellent way to keep it at the forefront of their minds and reinforce their commitment to following proper protocol.
- Speaking a universal language – The majority of safety signs rely on the color system already in place in other areas of society, such as traffic warnings. For example, signs that are yellow in color typically equate caution and signs that are red in color indicate danger. No matter what language an individual speaks, the use of yellow and red signs as warnings can be somewhat universal. The graphics some signs use are also helpful in eliminating language barriers. Even those signs that rely on words should be available in multiple languages from reputable providers.
Signs Most Commonly Used for Worksite Safety
Every jobsite is different and can range from those in a corporate environment in a city high rise to those working in a chemical plant just outside the city. And while these atmospheres are distinctly different, there can be overlap to some of the safety signage that can improve jobsite safety, such as:
- Authorized Personnel Only. This signage typically designates an area with machinery that could be dangerous and should only be accessed by those equipped to do so.
- Electrical Safety. Any time a high voltage area is established, it should have several signs warning of electrical shock potential nearby. This is to keep individuals from coming too close to the area and risking electric shock, which can be fatal in some cases.
- Equipment Safety. Jobsites that require the use of personal protection equipment such as safety goggles, aprons, hard hats, etc. should have equipment safety signs posted just outside the entrance as a way of reminding employees to have on the proper equipment and gear before entering.
- Exit Signs. This is perhaps one of the signs most often taken for granted. Individuals may see an exit sign by a door and think it redundant, but in emergency situations, common sense is not as easily accessed, and having an exit clearly labeled is helpful to those who need to exit the building immediately.
- Flammable Signs. Safety signage warning of a flammable risk are indications that individuals should not light up anything in close proximity to that specific area. This type of sign is seen frequently when substances such as gasoline, oil, or certain chemicals are being handled.
- Heat Awareness. Signs that encourage individuals to be aware of extreme heat generally reference the importance of being conscious about temperature exposure, taking regular breaks, and drinking plenty of water to avoid dehydration or heat stroke.
How to Make Safety Signage Easy
One of the best ways to make safety signage easy in the workplace is to partner with an established company that provides jobsite safety signs. These professional companies likely already have templates in place for various safety messages that come in the form of signs, floor stickers, lanyards, shirts and more, all of which are designed to create awareness of taking extra care while on the job.
Ensure that the signs are bright, colorful, use easy to see graphics, and feature brief messages that still get the main idea across. Together, these strategies can make safety signage more successful when used appropriately.
A business owner or facility manager should keep safety a top priority, and awareness is key. Effective safety signage can improve jobsite safety by reminding everyone to take the necessary steps to protect themselves and others.