In today’s environment with so many distractions in the workplace, capturing employees’ attention can be very difficult. However, attention and awareness are key components in keeping your workplace safe. So, how do you keep employees thoughts and attention on safety? One of the simplest, yet very effective methods is ‘signage’. That’s right, never underestimate the power of professional looking signage to keep safety awareness high throughout the workplace.
When is the last time you took a look at your safety signage? Is it old, faded, covered up, missing, or just blending in with the wall decor? Or is it bright and highly visible grabbing your attention? I say it is rare that you can have too much safety signage, unless of course it is unprofessional, cluttered and/or confusing.
Unprofessional Signs: Have you ever seen a hand-drawn emergency evacuation map posted in a store or warehouse location? Or a “Not an Exit” sign or Hazardous Material sign hand-written? If so, what did you first think when you saw it (besides a 1st grader could have done a better job)? Most likely these hand-drawn signs gave you the impression that the store or warehouse really doesn’t place much emphasis on safety.
Cluttered and/or Confusing Signs: Does a fire extinguisher sign hang where there once was, but no longer is, a fire extinguisher? Is there an “Exit” sign hanging over a door which is no longer an emergency exit due to a remodel? Have you ever seen so many signs in one place that you intuitively ignored them so as not to be more confused? These are cases we see all the time in our travels, and again the main thing they project to us is, the location doesn’t really care about safety, no matter what they tell you. Actions speak louder than words in this situation.
The first thing you need to address when reviewing your safety signage is to be sure to comply with all OSHA standards. For example, lighted or luminescent ‘Exit’ signage is required for evacuation routes and designated emergency exit doors. (No, those 99 cent ‘Exit’ signs do not comply with OSHA regulations!) Then review your company’s internal policies/procedures and survey your location/building and operations and make a thorough list of the safety signage that is missing or that needs replacing.
Most safety signage is professionally produced and available from a wide variety of companies. If you need to create your own safety signs, follow this simple rule – be brief and to the point. $