How does visual communication impact workplace safety?

Visual communication, also referred to as visual management, is a tried and true method for improving and sustaining workplace safety. It encompasses a variety of different supplies: wall signs, equipment labels, chemical labels, floor signs, industrial floor tapes, and more. Not only are there are a number of visual communication supplies on the market, your facility offers many places and surfaces that can be used to convey a message: the walls, the floors, machines and equipment, vehicles, and ceilings. It may feel overwhelming, but visual management is a cost-effective solution that is relatively easy to implement.

The following are just a few different visual tools you can use to improve the safety of your organization:

  • Wall signs: Wall signs are the most common form of visual communication and has been used for decades. Safety signs should be posted at eye level for maximum visibility and should not be your only visual cue. Often times workers can become “blind” to these signs after seeing them day after day and so it is important to reinforce the sign’s message with additional visual strategies.
  • Floor markings: Industrial floor tapes, shapes, and signs are an excellent (although sometimes overlooked) form of visual communication. Floor tape is great for creating lanes for traffic, keeping workers from dangerous areas, and to mark off hazardous machines. Floor signs can be used alongside the safety signs on the wall as a reminder of safe practices.
  • Labels: Labels aren’t just for organization! Labeling the pipes in your workplace and placing labels on equipment help to communicate quickly with those working on them the possible dangers present. If you’re a chemical distributor, supplier, or manufacturer, you are required to comply with the GHS standard, which means chemical containers must have a label on them complete with hazard pictograms.

Using visual reminders in your facility are not only beneficial for existing employees but also help any visitors or new hires to understand the safety practices in place. For instance, if an emergency occurs and you have an emergency route adequately marked with floor tape and a wall sign, those unfamiliar with your facility will be able to quickly locate the emergency exit. Using symbols and pictograms are extremely useful at communicating quickly and can be helpful for bilingual workers.

 

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