Every business owner is under some sign requirement from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA.)
OSHA has a clear set of rules for using caution, safety, danger, and warning signs. They also regulate fire safety signage and warnings regarding hazardous and potentially dangerous situations and chemicals.
As a business owner or employee, you should have a working knowledge of safety signs in the workplace and OSHA requirements.
Assess Your Workplace
Take a walk through the factory, office, or business, and identify hazards and existing signs. All signs need to be visible when workers are performing their job duties, although they can be removed when no longer necessary.
Use the OSHA compliance guidelines and inspection report to guide you in exact sign placement.
Signs Should Be Safe
It seems a given that safety signs should be safe, but there are regulations regarding sign safety as well.
The signs corners should be rounded or blunted, and there shouldn’t be any sharp edges or other hazards. The signs should also be easy to read and understand.
Signs Should Look a Certain Way
Each type of sign has its own unique look. OSHA and other regulatory bodies are usually very specific about what each sign color and style should look like.
Danger signs should be raised when the public and employees are in immediate danger. They are mostly red with a black border and a white lower panel with additional instructions.
Caution signs are yellow with a black panel and yellow lettering. You cannot have signs that have a yellow background without using black lettering. These signs warn of potential dangers.
General signs are usually white with a green panel and white lettering. These signs give general directions and safety measures to both the public and employees.
Notification signs are white with a blue panel and black lettering. Notification signs notify employees and customers of things like surveillance and what is prohibited in an area such as cell phones or food and drink.
Biohazard and hazardous materials signs are a bit different in their design. Each type of dangerous chemical or biochemical has its own warning symbol and coloration. This becomes particularly important when dealing with barrels or other containers that may not have easy to read labeling.
Other signs come in various colors and formats but avoid the coloration specified for more serious sign types. These signs should convey information such as exits, fire exits, and directions.
There are other types of signs necessary, but these are the most common for safety. Check your OSHA manual or hire a compliance officer to make sure you have the appropriate signs.
Signs Should Contain Specific Verbiage
Each sign needs to have uniform wording. That wording should be positive rather than negative, and there should be no mistaking what the sign means. All caution, danger, general, hazard, and notice signs should be written in a similar fashion.
It should be very easily read and very concise, so there can be no mistaking what the sign means.
Employees Must Be Informed About Signage
Each employee needs to be trained on what each sign means. Signs should be in multiple languages or use symbols when necessary to ensure that the entire workforce understands them completely. They should be informed about the dangers of the places they’re working, no matter how small or large.
These signs are designed to inform as well as to prevent accidents in the workplace. When you purchase these signs, make sure that the sign manufacturer is reputable and up-to-date on OSHA regulations. When OSHA inspects you, improper signs can lead to fines, regulations, and even a temporary shutdown of your business until you can bring the signs up to regulation standards.