In today’s environment with so many distractions in the workplace, capturing and maintaining employees’ attention can be a difficult proposition. However, attention and awareness are key components in keeping your workplace safe. So, how do you keep your 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 good look at your safety signage? I bet it has been awhile! So, take a look now, and what did you see? Was the signage missing, covered up, or old and faded and just blending in with the wall decor? Or did it ‘pop’ right out at you because it was highly visible, bright and grabbed your attention? In my opinion, 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. Someone told them to put up a sign quickly, and that is exactly what they did!
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 confuse yourself even further? These are instances we frequently see in our travels.
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. (Sorry, those 99 cent ‘Exit’ signs do not comply with OSHA regulations!) Then review your company’s internal policies/procedures, survey your location/building, and make a thorough list of the safety signage that is missing or needs replacement (Exit, Directional Exit, Hazardous Materials, Hazardous Waste, Eyewash Stations, PPE locations, First Aid Materials, Use of Wheel Chocks, etc.).
Most safety signage is professionally produced and available from a wide variety of companies. See the difference professional signage can make in the safety awareness at your location. $