Types of Safety Signs That Every Organisation Must Have!

Safety signs and labels are an essential part of keeping the staff who work at your organisation safe. The law says that you should use safety signs, tags and labels in situations where there is a health and safety risk. Safety signs, tags, and labels are vital because they alert people that they need to take extra precautions when near or working with particular pieces of equipment when handling specific substances or entering hazardous work areas.

There are other reasons why these labels are important too. For instance, many warning labels provide instructions for what to do in case of emergency – say, for example, if a person accidentally becomes in contact with, inhales, or ingests a dangerous substance. Let’s have a look at the main types of safety signs that every organization must use to keep people safe.

Danger Signs

OSHA is the organization that oversees workplace safety in the US. The organization uses three tiers of accident prevention signs and tags; they address the likelihood that a person will be injured, seriously injured, or killed by a particular hazard. The highest hazard level requires a DANGER sign. As per OSHA standards organizations must use this type of sign when death or severe injury results if the hazard is not avoided.

For example, a danger sign should be used on a 480-volt switchgear and distribution panel (because of the risk of arc flash burns), confined spaces, around moving machinery, like robot arms, and in areas with toxic atmospheres. Danger signs are the highest level of warning sign that a company can post to alert people to specific hazards.

In case of Danger signs, the word “DANGER” is in white with a red background. It also mentions the term “keep away” along with an image of the potential hazard. The idea is to make it as easy as possible for workers to identify the risk and take the necessary precautions. Danger signs also display the safety alert symbol: a triangle containing an exclamation mark.

Warning Signs

Warning signs are the next level down in the OSHA’s specifications for accident prevention signs and tags as well as in the hazard communication standard. Organizations should use warning signs in situations where a hazard could lead to serious injury or death, but not with the same likelihood as hazards warranting a danger sign.

Companies can use warning signs for the following conditions:

  • Obstacles: Warning signs may be suitable in situations where you have an unexpected obstacle.
  • Heavy Objects: In case of Heavy objects companies need to use warning signs to notify employees as it may cause injury.
  • Dangerous Machinery: Many machines put workers at risk. For example, workers may need to keep their distance from a combine harvester as it ejects bales.

The OSHA makes warning signs easily recognizable. Warning signs come with the word “WARNING” written in black on an orange background, accompanied by an image of the hazard on a white background and a written description. As with danger signs, warning signs come with a safety alert symbol, a triangle containing an exclamation mark.

Caution Signs

OSHA states that companies should use caution signs in situations where hazards may lead to minor injuries if not avoided.

Good examples of this include:

  • Failing to wear ear protection in noisy environments
  • Touching a Hot Surface
  • Entering a restricted area
  • Failing to wear a hard hat in a restricted area
  • Failing to clean up a spill which could result in a trip or fall
  • Failing to wear the correct breathing apparatus
  • Using the wrong door or access point
  • Failing to keep or store equipment in the proper manner

Caution signs are easily recognized. They consist of the word “CAUTION” written in bold capital letters on a yellow background, with an image of the hazard and a description of the danger on a white background. Caution signs, like the other signs, comes with the safety alert symbol – a  triangle containing an exclamation mark.

General Safety Instruction Signs

Of course, not all safety signs need to refer to a specific hazard. Many safety signs help to improve workplace safety by encouraging workers to take particular actions. General safety signs convey safety-related messages which could relate to sanitation, first aid, medical equipment or housekeeping. Notification is the main purpose of these type of signs.

Biological Hazard Safety Signs

Biological hazard safety signs are a particular type of hazard sign that warns workers about toxic biological agents in facilities like chemical factories, pharmaceutical labs , container or equipment. Hazardous biological agents could damage a person’s wellbeing and should be avoided.

Fire Safety Signs

Fire safety signs are essential for notifying to workers what to do in the event of a fire. Fire safety signs provide information such as the location of the nearest fire extinguisher. These signs do not provide information on how to use extinguishers in the event of an emergency.

Admittance Signs

Admittance signs show who is allowed to enter a particular area, and who isn’t. Many companies use admittance signs in combination with other safety signs to show the potential consequences of authorized access to a restricted area.

In conclusion, companies need to use the main types of safety signs to ensure that they keep their people safe from varying degrees of hazards.

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