Health and Safety Signs in the Workplace After COVID-19
In the past, we had different types of signs in our workplaces. The pandemic has brought workplace signage to the forefront in business operations. Two years ago, there were no signs to tell us to stay six feet apart or a sign to tell us to wear a mask. The COVID-19 pandemic gave us these new signs for critical hygiene and safety protocols and the need to evaluate our total signage in the workplace. The pandemic has provided us with innovative signage such as floor and wall signs that are customizable and removable and cleaned and disinfected regularly. We now must train our workers to understand what all of the different signs mean, how they impact them, and how to display them to keep everyone safe and healthy.
Signs And Their Meanings
There are five different health and safety signs, and they all have different meanings. They send their message through shape and color. These signs can be seen daily at our work, in the public buildings we visit on construction sites, in our dentist’s office, in warehouses, in hospitals, in all kinds of settings.
The five health and safety signs
- Prohibition Signs – “Don’t do it!”
- Mandatory Signs – “You need to do it!”
- Warning Signs – “If you do it, you’ll probably get hurt!”
- Safe Condition Signs – “This way to safety!”
- Fire Equipment Signs – “Need to put out a fire?”
Every sign looks different. In addition to their jargon, they can also send their message with shape, color, picture, or an icon. When you know the details, you can quickly grasp the exact meaning of the sign without reading the words.
Prohibition signs tell you not to do it. Consider these signs as a danger sign. They are telling you that it is not safe to proceed. The color red is the color of danger! Prohibition signs are a red circle with a diagonal red line crossing the image.
Prohibition Safety Sign
- Color: Red
- Shape: Circle
- Meaning: Do not, Never, Stop, No
- Color: Blue
- Shape: Circle
- Meaning: Do this, you must, Obey
Mandatory signs tell you; you need to do it! Mandatory signs are round. They are in the form of a circle with a white border.
- Color: Yellow
- Shape: Triangle
- Meaning: Warning, be careful, Be aware
Warning signs are there to tell you if you do it, you might get hurt! They don’t tell you not to, or to do, but tell you there is danger around. Be aware so you can protect yourself.
These signs are triangular.
Safe Condition Signs
Safe condition tells you, “This way to safety.”
- Color: Green
- Shape: Rectangle
- Meaning: Follow, This way, Escape route, First aid
You can recognize safe condition signs because of the rectangular or square shape with white printing on a green background.
Fire Equipment Signs
Fire equipment and fighting signs tell you where to find fire equipment. The color of fire is red, and red is also the color of Fire Equipment signs. Since we have already used red with the prohibition sign, the fire equipment signs are red in a different shape.
- Color: Red
- Shape: Square
- Meaning: Find the fire equipment, fire extinguishers, or fire alarm here.
These signs are square or rectangular. The picture is white on red, often with a white border, with a flame.
Why Signs are Important – “Duty of Care”
Signs protect not only the employees and consumers but the employer. The Office of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a “duty clause,” which requires that each employer provides each employee a workplace that needs to be free from the hazards that might cause the death or serious physical harm to an individual. OSHA can ensure that employers are operating in a manner to protect their employees. The “Duty to Care,” if violated, can seriously harm a company. Paying attention to warning signs, even the small ones found on labels, will assist in keeping everyone safe in the workplace.
By adhering to the small details of the signage requirement, businesses can gain an advantage over those trying to cut corners. Some of the benefits a company can see are:
- Enhancement of your image. The presence of hazard warning labels tells people that you are concerned about their health and safety. These signs give people an optimistic viewpoint, which enhances your brand image.
- You have reduced physical and legal risks. The presence of hazard signs lowers the odds of injuring both workers and clients, helping you avoid costly lawsuits and higher insurance rates.
- You are promoting a safety-oriented mindset among your workers. You send a caring message to your workers by protecting their safety. Customer service starts with good employee care.
- You are Increasing your employees’ job satisfaction. Workers who are comfortable and feel safe in their workplace will treat the customers with care and provide a positive experience to add value to your brand. There will be less absenteeism and staff turnovers.
- It keeps you in line with industry standards. Reputable businesses seek recognition from their customers for excellent service. One way to secure this recognition is by putting up safety signs inside your premises.
Companies that have been in business for a long time know that the investment in safety costs pays high dividends.