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Signage is an important piece of the workplace safety puzzle. Signs tell people where they can safely move, alert them to potential hazards, remind them of the correct protective equipment and more. But it’s not just enough to have signs. You must also utilize them properly to ensure they are keeping workers safe.

Make Sure All Signs Are Clear

The purpose of a safety sign is to provide employees with information they need to react and act safely as they enter a location. This means the sign must easily and effectively communicate its message to everyone on site.

All signs should follow regulations in terms of colour-coding, sign size, text size and viewing distance. However, it’s important never to assume a sign is clear. During training, point out all signs and explain their meanings and review signage in ongoing safety meetings. Also make sure that if you have employees who speak other languages, that you provide signs that they can read, as well. Graphics often help, but they are not always as clear as you think.

Make Sure All Signs Are Well-Placed

A sign cannot be effective if no one can see it or if people see it too late to take action. Employees should be given ample warning before entering a hazardous area or before they enter an area where specific protective gear is required. Signs on machines should be easy to see and highly visible to prevent accidents.

When placing new signs, make sure to ask yourself whether it is close enough to the hazard to make the sign relevant but far enough away that every employee has ample opportunity to respond properly to the hazard.

Don’t Go Overboard

Unfortunately, a workplace can have too many signs. This happens with the best of intentions – supervisors want to make sure their employees are safe, but too many signs can lead to confusion or overwhelm. Employees may not know what to do if signs conflict or they may start to ignore signs if they see too many of them throughout a shift.

Before posting a sign, think about its purpose and pay attention to the signs around it to ensure that it doesn’t cause mixed messages or overwhelm.

Are You Looking for Safety-Conscious Employees?

Signage is an important piece of the safety puzzle but it’s only one piece. Creating a safe workplace culture requires commitment and participation at every level of the organization. If you are looking to hire safety-conscious employees, Employment Professionals Canada can help. Contact our manufacturing and labour staffing experts online or call us at 1-800-842-0421 to start the conversation.


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