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Safety Signs Every Business Needs for OSHA-Compliance


Safety Signs Every Business Needs for OSHA-Compliance

Keeping workers informed of workplace hazards and safe practices may not sound glamorous, but it’s your responsibility as an employer to provide proper safety signs. If you want to keep your business or organization running smoothly, your on-staff safety professional or supervisor should be familiar with OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). While the HCS stipulates everything you’ll need in your regulatory signage, it’s not a dictatorial document, offering a small amount of wiggle room for customization of shapes, colors, and sizes.

Nearly three million private employees were injured while working in 2014. To us, that numbers sounds like three million too many. Obviously, no one can prevent every single injury or mishap; but as far as safety goals are concerned, we think being a little idealistic is fine.

So, let’s discuss what signage you’ll need to start protecting your employees today.

Here are three classifications to remember.

OSHA (Occupation Safety & Health Administration) has three primary types of signage that it specifies for the workplace, and requires the colors of these signs to fall in line with those outlined by ANSI (American National Standards Institute). Overwhelmed by these acronyms? Don’t worry, all you need to know is that one is a government-run, regulatory program, while the other is a private non-profit that coordinates with them.

  • Danger Signs: Danger signs demarcate where special precautions should be followed. These signs are reserved for the most perilous hazards e.g. high-pressure piping, exposed electrical equipment, or chemical storage. You’ve likely seen these before, posted with a safety alert symbol, which resembles an exclamation point inside a triangle. OSHA stipulates that red, black, and white are the only colors used, along with the word “DANGER” in capital letters.
  • Warning Signs: The next step down from a danger sign, the warning sign describes a potential hazard or warns against unsafe practices that may result in serious injury. Like danger signs, the design features a safety alert symbol that is printed in black across an orange background. Orange, black, and white are the only colors that should be used here, and the word “WARNING” in capital letters is required.
  • Caution Signs: Reserve caution signs for hazardous situations that may result in minor or moderate injuries if ignored. Imagine signs that have the messaging “slippery when wet,” “slow down,” or “watch your step,” and you’ll get an idea of the risk involved. On caution signage, “CAUTION” is printed in black on a yellow background, and your company’s color choices are limited to yellow, black, and white.

Other classifications exist which you may need for your workplace as well, depending on the complexity of your business environment. Biological hazards require signs with special symbols, and the word “BIOHAZARD” printed on them. Safety instruction signs are another type of sign you may discover some use for; they’re most commonly used when a risky task lacks safety suggestions or – you guessed it – instructions.

Some important safety signs that almost every company will need:

1. Exit and Evacuation Signs

Evacuation pathways and emergency exits are required to be clearly delineated at all times, according to OSHA. You’ll need that classic, illuminated sign with either red or green lettering. A decision on the color of the lettering will depend on your state, as some governments allow both, while others will limit you to one or the other. if you need help figuring out what’s permitted in your area. Be aware, though: municipalities can sometimes overrule these state regulations.

2. ADA-Compliant Braille Signs

Chances are you have some informational signage around the office, marking restrooms, cubicles, elevators, and more. Well, all of those need high-contrast tactile and braille characters for easy readability. As a law-abiding citizen, you’ll probably want your to stay compliant with the American Disabilities Act (ADA for short); but there’s more to it than that. Improving access for visually impaired or disabled employees and visitors not only spares them idle from idle wandering – it may save their lives in the event of an emergency.

3. First Aid Signs

First aid supplies should be simple to locate and generally accessible to workers throughout business hours. Identifying first aid stations may be the first priority that comes to mind, but eyewash or safety shower signs should be considered as well, particularly for those who work around hazardous chemicals.

4. Signs for Slips, Trips, and Falls

Know any areas around your facility that habitually come into contact with liquid or have precarious walkways? Place informational and caution signs around those locations, as well as steep staircases, balconies, alleys, and crawlspaces.

5. Signs for Fire-Based Emergencies

When a fire breaks out, employees will be scurrying around, trying to find out where the nearest fire extinguisher or fire hose is. And if you don’t have signs marking where these items are, you’ll be wishing you had adhered to OSHA’s guidelines from the start.

Make addressing a fire emergency as panic-free as possible with red and white aluminum signage. Fast action by emergency personnel and properly trained workers should be enough to prevent catastrophe.

6. Notice Signs

A notice sign indicates important information unrelated to potential hazards. Often, these can refer to something as minor as the restriction of cigarette smoking in a certain area, to the fines incurred when property is damaged.

Generally, notice signs have a two-tone, blue and white color scheme in the header, along with black typography underneath.

For more professional tips and tricks involving safety signage, you can rely on the experts at Signs Now®.

“How else can I get warning signs to work for me?” you ask.  Find out with an expert site assessment courtesy of Signs Now®. We have an array of Hazard, Warning & Safety Signage for all applications and budgets. And if you’re looking for an ADA-compliant solution to indoor signage, we offer Regulatory, Wayfinding & ADA Compliant Signs. We invite you to learn more about what Signs Now can do for you. To get started, contact us today.