Keeping workers safe is an employer’s obligation by OSHA law, and having a visual communication strategy, namely safety signs, is key. Safety signs plays a large part in keeping facilities compliant and employees knowledgeable. It is critical for workers to understand the types of hazards in the workplace, the level of risk the hazard presents, and what precautions to take. These signs and their standards were developed by ANSI under section Z535 and cover DANGER, WARNING, and CAUTION signs.
Safety signs also encompass NOTICE signs as well as Safety Instruction signs and keep your workers well-informed. These types of signs will alert workers of where first aid kits are, the locations of emergency eyewash stations, and otherwise give information in a clear and concise manner. ANSI has included these signs to their Z535 standard.
While many signs are mandatory signs to have in the workplace, adding other types of informational signs can greatly contribute to worker’s safety. Other types of signs that should be considered include:
- Traffic control signs: If a facility has vehicle and pedestrian traffic, stop signs, yield signs, and other types of traffic control signs will keep forklifts and pedestrians safe.
- Prohibition signs: Remind people not to smoke, not to enter certain areas, not to use their cell phone, etc. with prohibition signs.
- Security signs: These signs help to protect people and property by keeping people out of certain locations.
- Office signs: Every facility, even a typical office, has a need for safety signs. Signs used for office purposes often provide directions or instructions regarding tasks.
Safety signs are crucial to workplace safety, but training workers on the meanings of safety signs and symbols used on signs are equally as important. Additionally, facility managers should periodically assess and replace signs if they are damaged, faded, or otherwise unreadable.