With health and safety regulations becoming ever more stringent, it’s very important to make sure your premises has the relevant signage in place. There are certain signs every building will require whereas others will depend on circumstances – for example, signs warning of the presence of toxic materials if this would apply.
An overview of health and safety sign requirements – The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website has this to say about workplace signage: “Employers must provide safety signs if there is a significant risk that can’t be avoided or controlled in any other way, such as through safe systems of work or engineering controls. Employers are expected to make sure the signs are properly maintained and positioned in the most appropriate place for easy visibility. Any unfamiliar signage should be explained to employees and details provided as to what to do when they see certain safety signs.
Legal requirements – Some signage is required by law, such as;
No smoking – it’s illegal to smoke in non-private properties, so a ‘No smoking’ sign has to appear at EACH entrance to the building.
Health and safety law poster – for any business employing more than one person, this must be displayed in a prominent place.
General safety signs – to enhance safety, it’s mandatory to mark any potentially hazards with an appropriate sign and clearly identify exits, first aid posts and fire doors. Examples include:
- Fire exit sign
- Fire door ‘keep shut’ warning signs
- Fire extinguisher location signs
- ‘What to do in event of fire’ signs
- Exit signs (often illuminated)
Types of sign
According to the Health and Safety Executive, signs can be categorised in the following ways:
- Prohibition sign – a sign prohibiting activity likely to increase or cause a danger risk to the reader or, by disobeying the sign, to themselves and possibly others. As an example, a ‘no access for unauthorised persons’ sign would fall into this category. Colours used are usually red on a white background.
- Warning sign – a sign warning of a danger or hazard such as high voltage electricity. A typical colour used would be yellow or amber. The sign would have a black graphic such as a thunderbolt to symbolise electricity or the trefoil symbol for radiation.
- Mandatory sign – a sign instructing certain procedures to follow. For example ‘eye protection must be worn’ or ‘fire door keep shut.’ These are usually blue in colour.
- Emergency escape – showing the route to take if emergency evacuation is required such as in the event of a fire. These are usually green in colour.
What safety signs does your building need?
To establish what exact signage you might need for your premises, you’d need to conduct a risk assessment and survey to establish what signs are required and the best place to position them. The Health and Safety Executive website has a lot of information concerning signage requirements some of which can be downloaded.
A particularly useful guide to signage regulations can be either bought as a printed guide or downloaded for free here. It would probably be a good idea to ask that someone from the Health and Safety Executive visits your premises to advise you.
Where to obtain signs
Many signage companies offer advice and links to help you determine what signage you require, and offer a full range of signs appropriate to your business. Some offer packs of the most commonly required signs, along with other items that will help make you ‘health and safety compliant’. Examples of these would include accident books and the leaflet version of the ‘Health and Safety Law’ poster.
Featured images: http://myblogguest.com/forum/uploads/articles/2015/3/hgg.png. This article was written by Jill Henderson, a Representative for the health and safety signs supplier – Cube Safety Signs.