The New Year is an excellent time to carry out a safety signs audit. Ensuring your safety signs are up to date is one new year’s resolution you really should keep up.
Carrying Out A Safety Sign Audit.
You can carry out a simple safety sign audit yourselves. All business owners are obliged to carry out risk assessments to protect their staff and visitors and this is a good place to start with your signage audit. Review your latest risk assessments and where risks were identified assess whether signage could be used to alert people to any hazards that cannot be eliminated by any other changes. For example, it may not be practical to remove internal steps if the building is on several levels but highlighting the hazard with clear and appropriate markings and signage will reduce the risk. Things change over time so it’s worth reviewing your risk assessments to make sure nothing has changed, you may have purchased new equipment or refurbed an area since your last assessment.
Create a checklist to help ensure your audit is carried out thoroughly. List all the areas covered together with the hazards identified, the existing signage, are the signs visible, clean, undamaged? Are there any more safety instructions that should have signs but don’t at present? Once you have created your checklist complete with all your existing signage, this can be used year on year for the basis of your audit.
Don’t forget your external signage, walking access routes, car parks and storage areas to note any damage to signs or signs that need cleaning. For directional signage, it is often useful to enlist the help of a friend who is unfamiliar with the premises to gauge how easy it is to follow directions and highlight any changes that could make it easier. Check exterior signs are not being obscured by overgrown foliage.
A regular cleaning regime can help prolong the life of your signs and also alert you to any damaged signs that may have otherwise have been missed. Use a soft cloth and mild detergent to clean your signs. For exterior signs or in locations with high dust levels it is worth rinsing with plain luke-warm water to remove any hard or abrasive particles first to avoid scratching the sign surface. To dry use a dry, preferably lint-free cloth and blot gently to avoid streaks.
An issue that is sometimes reported is “sign blindness”. This often occurs where there are too many safety messages or instructions to convey in a small area, or where signs have been in situ for a long time. Moving the location of a sign can prompt the viewers’ mind to process this change as new information and can make them more aware. This is only possible if the new location is still in a prominent place close to the hazard or is still relevant to the instruction.
Changing signs regularly can also make the viewer more aware of new information. Using the same location but changing the information regularly will lead to the viewer to expect a change and they will be more mindful and check to see what new information is being communicated. This works particularly well with safety posters. Regularly changing your safety posters or having them on a rota, will keep the messages fresh, they will work as mini-campaigns and should work in conjunction with your overall safety plans and training.
If you find an area has multiple signs and messages the brain has difficulty in processing the information, replace cluttered multiple signs with composite signs or multi-message signs to create a tidier look that is also easier to comprehend.
We have several standard ‘off the shelf’ multi-message signs particularly covering hazard signs and construction safety signs but we can also make bespoke signs using the correct safety symbols complying to the latest legislation but conveying messages specifically for your specific situations.
If you would like any advice about your safety sign requirements please do get in touch with our Team who would be delighted to help you call 01737 762400.