The Warning Signs are There

by admin on October 11, 2010

Every year in the UK around 200 people lose their lives at work; over 150,000 non-fatal injuries are reported; and an estimated 2 million suffer from ill-health caused or aggravated by their work, or working environment*.


Health and safety related incidents like these are not restricted to any particular type of work or working environment, they can happen in any workplace at any time. So no matter what type of business you operate, taking steps to ensure work colleagues, customers and visitors to your business are protected from injury or risks to their health is crucial.


Promoting safe and healthy working practices is a legal obligation for employers, but it also makes sense; a safe and healthy working environment is a productive one, and can help to reduce time lost to injury and ill-health, and helps to protect you and your business from potentially costly liability towards any injured or ill employees, customers or visitors.


Adhering to health and safety practice at work is of course the key to helping protect people from risks to their health and safety, and a large part of this involves risk management, and the prevention of incidents and accidents.


One of the main factors in accident prevention is alerting people to the potential risks and hazards involved in their work and working environment, and one of the most effective ways of achieving this is with warning signs.


Warning signs – also known as ‘safety’ signs, ‘hazard’ signs, ‘caution’ signs or ‘danger’ signs – are designed to indicate potentially harmful situations, areas, substances, equipment and machinery; essentially, they offer clear warnings of health and safety risks.


Warning signs are required to be yellow or amber in colour, so they can be easily seen and instantly recognised, and generally consist of a black safety symbol (usually indicating the potential hazard) on a yellow background, housed in a warning triangle.


There are many different types of warning signs, which cover a variety of potentially hazardous or harmful situations such as: Cleaning Caution Signs, to alert people to the dangers of wet floors; Construction Danger Signs, for use on building sites; COSHH Safety Signs, used where corrosive or harmful substances are used; Electrical Danger Signs; to be displayed where high voltages are present, and many, many more for both general and specific uses.


Regardless of the type or size of business you are operating, or how you perceive the safety and health risks involved with your work and working environment, it’s important to ensure you display the correct warning signs throughout the workplace.


In the UK, the design and use of safety signs is covered by legislation and regulated by various standards. The Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996 is the primary law covering both the design and use of safety signage, and can help you with the application of signs as a part of your complete health and safety at work policy.


For further information and help regarding the use of warning signs, risk assessment and for general health and safety at work advice, contact the UK Health and Safety Executive.


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writing articles about health and safety and particularly the correct use of warning signs for
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