An employer must provide safety signs if there is a risk that can’t be controlled or managed in another way such as through safety systems. If the risk isn’t reduced by the addition of signs or if the risk is not significant then there is no need to introduce safety signage. Employers have three main responsibilities when it comes to signs. Firstly, traffic signs must be used in workplaces to manage road traffic. Next, any safety signs used must be maintained and replaced if damaged. Finally, if any unusual or unfamiliar signage is in use then employers must be trained on what they mean and what action needs to be taken where they are seen.
If you need any advice or assistance on safety signs for your workplace then please call the Office Allsorts team on 0115 9455833. For further information we also recommend visiting the Health and Safety Executive website where a free copy of the Safety Signs and Signals regulations can be downloaded or a hardcopy ordered for a small fee.
Safety signs are required where they can help reduce risk and where all other methods of reducing that risk have been employed and a danger to employee health and safety remains.
Signs must be clear and should be used to advise people of the following general actions;
- Identify a prohibited area (e.g. No entry, No access)
- Actions that must be followed (e.g. Eye protection must be worn, Helmet must be worn)
- Hazard warning (e.g. Forklift in operation)
- Direction signs (e.g. Fire exits)
If you don’t know where to start with applying safety signs to your working environment or you are worried you may not be complying with the current regulations a safety sign audit may be the best solution.
A safety sign audit is an inspection of the working environment that reviews the suitability of current signage and makes recommendations on places where new or additional signage may be required. After your audit has taken place a report is produced detailing what types of signs are needed within the workplace. The audit and subsequent following of recommendations should ensure that your premises are fully compliant with the current regulations and that employees are made aware of potential risks by the correct signage. An audit usually takes approximately one day but this does depend on the size of the business to be assessed.
A safety audit can be carried out by anybody and there are downloadable checklists on the internet that will take you through a step by step process for conducting one. If, however you are not confident in carrying out your own audit or you feel you may benefit from the expertise of a professional company there are lots of options available by searching online. There are specialist companies who carry out audits on a daily basis and who’s auditors have a wealth of experience in the field, ensuring that regulations are met and all safety issues are considered.