Safety signage is the first sign, so to speak, that you’re walking into a potentially hazardous area. On construction and industrial sites, inside of warehouses and manufacturing facilities, safety signage and decals play a critical role in reducing workplace risks and injuries.
They’re only effective, though, if they’re properly designed, printed, and strategically placed. In this guide, we’ll address what that means and how to maximize the positive impact of your signage.
The Purpose of Safety Signage and Decals: Information Where it’s Needed Most
To optimize your signage’s effectiveness, consider what the signs are meant to do in the first place—which is provide instant information about hazards in the area. This means the following should be true about any jobsite’s safety signs:
- Close placement to the relevant hazard – Placement and positioning are the two biggest decisions you’ll have to make with your safety signage. Each sign should be installed so that workers see it before they are exposed to the referenced hazard. This is obvious, but for hazards that are ubiquitous (falls or heavy machinery traffic, for example), you’ll need to consider what “close” means. The solution is to identify access points and ensure the right signage is in place at those points.
- Communicates hazard-related information clearly – Safety signage only works if it communicates its message clearly. Employers are expected to consider their employee demographics, including the languages they are most comfortable reading. Your safety signage is expected to communicate in the same languages your workers use, which is why bilingual safety signage is a popular option for many active jobsites.
- Stands out in the environment – Signage only works if it grabs the reader’s attention. Safety signs that meld into the background don’t do their job, which is why there are standardized designs to begin with. Approved signage designs are selected for their high-visibility colors and type patterns, which ensures they are seen from a distance. Also, it’s important not to overdo it with signage. Too many signs in one place can confuse workers during a critical moment, potentially exposing them to harm.
What Are the Regulations Concerning Safety Signage and Decals?
Multiple agencies regulate safety signage and decals. OSHA is the principal agency that addresses safety signage, mostly in its 1910.145 standard. In that standard, OSHA outlines the different categories of safety signage (danger, warning, caution, fire safety, etc.) and where safety signage should be installed.
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is the other agency responsible for regulating safety signage. Its standards go into detail regarding signage design, including which colors and design elements to incorporate into each sign.
Employers are expected to incorporate safety signage into the worksite safety plan. This plan should detail potential hazards at the job site, and signage will be required close to every identified hazard.
Three Ways to Improve Safety Signage’s Effectiveness
Your jobsite can’t go without safety signage and decals. They’re mandatory for OSHA compliance and an investment in worker protection. And to provide the best possible protection, your workers will need the best possible information when working in hazardous conditions. Here’s how to support that mission with proper safety signage use:
- Find the perfect proximity middle ground – There’s a fine line between too close and not close enough when it comes to safety signage. OSHA requirements state that all safety signage must be in close proximity to the referenced hazard. However, if the sign is too close to the hazard, people may be exposed to risk before they realize it.
For hazards that are confined to a small area, like electrocution hazards, the sign may only need to be a few feet away. For fire or chemical exposure hazards, though, safety signage may be required throughout the area and at any site access point.
- Consider your site’s access routes – Many construction sites are easily accessed from all sides, which means people could approach your site’s dangers from any direction. Consider where employees and visitors are most likely to access hazardous areas, and either direct that access or ensure signage is available at every access point.
- Pick signage that’s durable and long lasting – Construction sites, industrial facilities, warehouses, and other similar work settings put a lot of wear and tear on signage. Dust, heat, weather, and chemical exposure are all common, and they can all ruin paper-based safety signs. That’s why the recommendation is for aluminum signage, which provides an optimal mix of strength and corrosion resistance.
- Stick with approved signage designs – Safety signage is designed to be minimalist and easy to read from a distance. It features bold colors and readable text for instant information delivery. These designs are also approved by regulating agencies, which ensures your site has compliant signage in place.
Need to Scale Up Your Jobsite’s Safety Signage? An Experienced Commercial Printer Can Help
If you’re in the process of establishing a construction site or jobsite, you may be looking for a safety signage source. For many employers, that source is an experienced commercial printer.
Some commercial printers have decades of experience creating safety signage and decals for construction sites, industrial facilities, medical facilities and more. For clients, this experience comes with several benefits. For example, commercial printers have access to approved signage designs and have access to advanced printing methods. Dibond printing is one such method and uses a pair of aluminum sheets layered on both sides of a polymer core. The printer applies the design and color directly to the aluminum, making for a high-visibility finish on a high-durability material.
In addition to advanced techniques and resources, commercial printers can also produce higher volumes of signage – perfect if your jobsite needs some last-second signage additions.
On active jobsites, worker safety is a top priority – or should be. An experienced commercial printer can help your company establish that safety, with many types of safety signage and quality workmanship.