Safety First: The Importance of Safety Signs in the Workplace
Article Date: September 15, 2023
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When working in a factory or operating heavy machinery, safety signs can help prevent accidents and injuries by addressing potential hazards and precautions.
Whether you're communicating warnings or life-saving instructions, using durable metal signs in the workplace is one way to do this. In this article, we’ll learn the significance of safety signs in blue-collar workplaces, why metal signs are a preferred choice, and the common types of safety signs. We will also highlight the importance of following the standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The Purpose of Safety Signs in the Workplace
Safety signs play a significant role in the workplace and are often used to communicate important information to employees, visitors, and personnel. They also have several functions:
- To warn and alert about potential dangers and hazards that may result in accidents, injuries, or health issues.
- To provide guidance to various safety practices and directions to emergency exits, assembly points, first-aid stations, and other specific areas.
- To communicate workplace policies like wearing PPEs and safety gear and to raise awareness about prohibited areas and actions.
- To comply with regulations set by organizations like the Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA), and to avoid violations and fines.
Why Choose Metal Signs for Workplaces?
Metal signs come with many benefits, making them a suitable choice to convey safety information in blue-collar workplaces. Here are some of them:
Durable and Long-lasting
Metal signs are often made of aluminum, which makes them sturdier and more durable compared to other materials like plastic or paper. They can withstand physical impacts and are resistant to scratches, rust, and even graffiti with their protective coating.
Can Be Used Indoors and Outdoors
Metal signs are also versatile and can be used in different settings, whether they’re displayed indoors or outdoors. They’re resistant to various environmental factors like UV radiation, moisture, chemicals, and harsh weather conditions, so you can rest assured that they remain legible even in challenging and rugged environments.
If you’re displaying your safety sign in low-light conditions, you won’t have to worry about it not being seen or understood because metal signs have reflective coatings or materials that enhance their visibility.
Because metal signs are made of aluminum or stainless steel, they have great longevity and can be reused for a long time as long as they’re given proper maintenance and care. This also makes them very cost-effective because you won’t have to spend much on reprinting.
Metal signs are very customizable. You can decide which symbols, colors, and sizes you can print according to the requirements of the workplace to help communicate specific instructions and warnings.
Compliant With OSHA Standards
Metal signs can be designed to meet the standards of organizations like OSHA. Some regulations include:
- Signs being visible at all times
- Safety signs being made of sturdy material like aluminum
- Signs being made with rounded corners to avoid injuries
- Adding specific symbols and concise messages to convey safety instructions
Common Safety Signs in Workplaces
Below are some examples of safety signs used in blue-collar workplaces. These are used to promote workplace safety, prevent accidents, and show designated areas for safety.
These signs usually have a yellow background and are used to warn individuals of potential hazards like wet floors, spills, or oil residue. Some examples include “Caution - Slippery When Wet” or “Caution - Watch Your Step.”
Warning signs often have an orange background and informs people of potential dangers that could result in injury or death. Examples include “Warning - Confined Space” or “Warning - Infectious Waste Storage Area.”
Danger signs have a red background and black font. They contain information about immediate hazards that could be a threat to health or life. Some examples of danger signs are “Danger - Flammable Materials” or “Danger - High Voltage Area.”
Mandatory signs have a blue background and convey information that should be followed in the workplace. Examples include “Mandatory - Hearing Protection Required” and “Mandatory - Hard Hat Area.”
Emergency signs usually have a green background and have information directing emergency exits or procedures. Some examples are “Emergency Evacuation Route - Follow Arrows” and “Emergency Exit.”
Prohibition signs are signs that show what is not allowed in the workplace. These are required to have a red circle with a diagonal line crossed through a black symbol or text. Signs that say, “No Entry”, No Smoking”, and “Switch Off All Mobile Phones” are some examples.
Fire Safety Signs
Fire safety signs are signs that inform employees, visitors, or other individuals about fire hazards, and could also show directions to fire safety equipment. Examples include “Fire Extinguisher”, “Fire Alarm”, “Fire Hose”, and “Do Not Extinguish With Water”.
Electrical Safety Signs
Electrical safety signs are signs that have lightning bolt symbols to warn individuals of electrical hazards. Some examples include “Danger of Death”, “Electrical Fence”, and “Electrical Hazard – Keep Out”.
Traffic and Vehicle Safety Signs
Traffic and vehicle safety signs are for workplaces with vehicular traffic. Examples include “Stop”, “Yield”, “Speed Limit”, and “Buckle Up and Drive Carefully”.
Construction and Work Zone Signs
Construction and work zone signs are signs displayed to inform individuals about particular areas that have ongoing construction or repair work. Examples include “Work Zone Ahead”, “Area Under Construction”, and “Entering Construction Zone”.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Signs
PPE signs are signs that remind employees to wear safety equipment in the workplace. Some examples are “All PPE Required Beyond This Point”, “Safety Glasses Required”, “Gloves Must Be Worn in This Area”, and “Hearing Protection Must Be Worn”.
In blue-collar workplaces, safety is of utmost priority. To improve safety and prevent accidents or injuries from happening, display metal signs and conduct proper training among personnel to ensure that everyone is educated about safety. Metal signs are ideal for industrial and high-impact environments as they are made of durable material that can withstand moisture, UV radiation, chemicals, and even harsh weather conditions. When employers incorporate metal signs in their safety program, not only do they promote workplace safety but they also create a secure and productive work environment for blue-collar workers.
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