What does caution mean?

Caution means ‘the trait of being cautious; being attentive to possible danger,’ according to the dictionary.  This is certainly accurate in general, but when it comes to practical situations, such as the workplace, caution can have a much more nuanced meaning. Understanding what caution means in a given environment is very important for keeping everyone safe.

Caution in the Workplace

All employees and other people in a facility need to exercise caution at all times to ensure everyone is kept safe. What this means will be dramatically different depending on what types of potential hazards there are in a given area. For example, one common way of showing caution in the workplace is by using established best practices or strategies to help minimize risk. For example, using the ‘lockout-tagout’ process is an effective way to exercise caution when working on potentially dangerous machines. There are, of course, many other examples of ways a company can take caution to help keep everyone safe.

Visual Communication and Caution

When there is a hazard in an area it is important to let people know so that they can take extra caution. In the workplace, this is often done using visual communication methods. Visual communication options include things like safety signs, labeling, tags, and more. Even something as simple as putting up a yield sign in an area where workplace vehicles and people may intersect can help to improve the safety of everyone in the area.

No matter how a warning is communicated in the workplace, it is important to ensure that everyone is aware of it. This typically means providing standard workplace safety training to ensure all employees are on the same page in this area. Also, using standard symbols, safety words, compliant pictograms, and other items will help ensure even those who are just visiting an area will recognize the need to take caution. 


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