Slip and falls are one of the most common kinds of injuries seen in every workplace. What makes this unfortunate is that they are also one of the most preventable types of injuries. The hazards that create slip and fall situations are well known. One of the biggest tools in their prevention is properly deployed signage. So, let’s dig a little deeper into the importance of signage.
Alerts Customers and Coworkers to Specific Hazards
Signs exist for almost every kind of hazard in the workplace. In fact, OSHA issues guidance on precisely what these signs should look like and contain, from symbols to languages. That means that people are used to seeing specific colors, terms, and symbols. They don’t need to actively think about what they mean. They see the sign and process the significance immediately.
For example, let’s say that someone spills a large container of liquid. While the liquid itself might not be dangerous, it is a slip hazard. Bright yellow signs that say “wet floor” with a slipping stick figure are automatically recognizable. People will avoid the area and avoid the risk of injury.
Visibility of signage is especially important in areas where slip and fall hazards are always present. Leaving a portable sign on the floor at the entrance of such areas is problematic because people can assume the sign was left there by accident or may not be current. They might not even see it.
For areas with persistent risks, the signage must be permanent and visible. That means the signage should be affixed to a wall or door at about eye level. It should also adhere to warning color schemes set out by OSHA. That means people will notice them immediately and take due precautions when entering the area.
Even when following appropriate guidance, it doesn’t make every sign choice a good one. For example, some shades of yellow or orange prove very mild. They don’t draw the eye. Proper signage employs bright shades of the appropriate color for the background and uses a high contrast color for any terms of symbols.
This helps ensure that people’s eyes won’t simply slide across the signage without registering its meaning. If given a choice, always opt for the brightest, highest-contrast signage available to alert customers and coworkers of a slip or fall hazard.
Signage Prevents Injury
Human beings are easily distracted. This is only made truer by the existence of smartphones, which draw the eyes away from a person’s surroundings. Bright, high-contrast signage alerts people to danger by drawing the eye. The use of proper symbols and language on the sign helps people automatically process what danger they face and avoid it.
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