Simple New Year Safety Signs Audit

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 Simple New Year Safety Signs Auditwith 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.

Cleaning your safety signsCleaning Your Signs

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.

Sign Blindness

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.

A Guide to Photoluminescent Material

A Guide to photoluminescent MaterialThrough the group of companies that make up Warnstar Sign and Print, we manufacture our own photoluminescent material and produce a wide range of safety signs and safety way guidance systems for both the terrestrial and marine markets.

 

What is photoluminescence?

Photoluminescence is the phenomenon whereby luminescence (spontaneous emission of light by a substance not resulting from heat; or “cold light”) is induced by the absorption of visible light, UV or infrared radiation.

Often abbreviated as PL, Photoluminescence is light emission from any form of matter after the absorption of photons (electromagnetic radiation). It is one of many forms of luminescence (light emission) and is initiated by photoexcitation (i.e. photons that excite electrons to a higher energy level in an atom), hence the prefix photo-.  However, it is a non-radioactive process and requires no battery back-up and has almost unlimited charge and discharge cycles.

In a more simplified explanation, a photoluminescent material absorbs and stores photons (‘particles’ of light) from a light source. When that light source is removed, the stored energy is released as visible light and ‘glows in the dark’.

The ‘glow in the dark’ properties make it very useful for manufacturing safety products, especially signs and safety way guidance systems. In the event of light failure, photoluminescent safety signs and products are still visible for a certain length of time.

There are different grades of material depending on how bright the glow is and how long it lasts at a certain level before fading. The photoluminescence of signage products is renewable. Once the light source is re-instated the product is re-charged.

The Grades of Photoluminescent Material

The Photoluminescent Safety Products Association (PSPA) classification system is based on luminance decay data as given when tested according to ISO 17398 (also ISO 16069) illuminated with 1000 lux from Xenon D75 (Daylight) source for 5 minutes (very similar to DIN 67510 Part 1 and ASTM E 2073-10 also with this illumination and time.

A Guide to photoluminescent Material

Legislation says that terrestrial-based safety products have to be manufactured from grade/Class C photoluminescent material to be compliant with BS ISO  16069, although for marine environments Class B is the accepted norm.

Safety & Traceability of Your Photoluminescent Products?

Unlike many signage manufacturers, we don’t just print photoluminescent signs, we also manufacture A Guide to photoluminescent Materialthe material too. Our Telglow™ material is used to manufacture a wide range of safety products and SWGs and as an ISO 9001:2015 accredited company, we can produce a cost-effective product with full traceability.

The Standards & Legislation

The following standards are those most relevant for use in terrestrial applications.

BS ISO 16069:2017 Graphical Symbols – Safety Signs – Safety way guidance systems (SWGS)

A safety way guidance system coordinates a complex range of safety products in order to provide a continuous and conspicuous, unbroken route to safety that allows people to evacuate occupied areas with minimum risk. ISO 16069 indicates when and where it is appropriate to use photoluminescent materials as part of an SWGS and defines minimum performance requirements for this application.

DIN 67510 Phosphorescent Pigments and Products

This German standard is the industry norm for the measurement and assessment of photoluminescent products. DIN 67510 Part 1 defines a method where samples are exposed for 5 minutes to a Xenon light source delivering

1000lux of light energy. The light is extinguished and the afterglow measured in millicandella’s per m² (mcd/m²) at defined time intervals, until extinction is achieved at a level of 0.32 mcd/m².

DIN 67510 Part 4 defines performance levels and is used by ISO16069 to specify minimum performance requirements. When tested to DIN 67510-1 the photoluminescent must have a minimum luminance, after withdrawal of the excitation light source, of 20 mcd/² at 10 minutes, 2.8 mcd/² at 60 minutes and a minimum time to 0.32mcd/m² of 340 minutes. This information is usually annotated as follows: 20/2.8 – 340 / DIN67510-1.

If you would like advice on choosing the right photoluminescent products for you, please get in touch Tel 01737 762400.

Warning Signs: Hazard Signs: Yellow or Amber Safety Signs

Warning Signs: Hazard Signs: Yellow or Amber Safety SignsOne of the most commonly used type of safety signs are the yellow or amber safety signs which are used to warn the viewer of a particular hazard. There are strict specifications for the design and display of these signs and symbols.

According to regulations, the design of the sign must include a triangular pictogram of the hazard in black on yellow, where the yellow background takes up more than 50% of the symbol but with a thick black outline. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure all staff understand the meaning of all safety signs displayed on the premises even if the sign’s message appears to be obvious to some.

Supplementary text is often useful in adding clarity to the safety message. The older safety sign legislation BS 5499 standard which has now been succeeded by BS EN ISO 7010: 2011 Graphical symbols – Safety colours and safety signs, uses a useful three tier risk level system. BS 5499 identified 3 levels of risk used to define the level of severity of the hazard, Danger, Warning and Caution.

DANGER (High Level of Risk) means if the danger is not avoided, it will cause death or serious injury.

WARNING (Medium Level of Risk) means if the warning is not heeded, it can cause death or serious injury.

CAUTION (Low Level of Risk) means if the precaution is not taken, it may cause minor or moderate injury.

The latest ISO BS EN 7010:2011 legislation has further simplified hazard signs to all read as ‘warning’  relying on the viewer to determine the level of risk. So while all signs are compliant there will be a move towards just ‘warning’ signs over time. At present both forms are acceptable but it is advised that BS EN ISO 7010 and BS 5499 graphical symbols and safety signs should not be mixed within the same workplace. When replacing a sign consideration should be given to this fact.

More information covering the legislation covering Hazard Safety Signs can be found here.