When it comes to safety, you can’t cut corners.
That goes for both the big and the small measures that you take to protect your team, including easily forgettable steps like ensuring that you’re using the safety signs Australia mandates in its OHS regulations!
Just one question: how much do you know about commonly used hazard signs and safety symbols, and which ones you need for your business?
It might not sound like much, but without the proper sign coverage, you could find yourself in hot water (and we haven’t even gotten started on the potential for accidents!)
Why are health and safety signs important?
Quick reminders of workplace hazards
You’ll rarely have time for a full safety brief. If only there was some quick way to remind your team about what hazards they’re facing…
That’s what workplace safety signs do. They’re a constant and immediately-digestible reminder to your team of the hazards they’re facing, as well as what they need to do to keep safe.
Make sure visitors know what they need to do
Your team knows how to stay safe thanks to years of experience – but what about visitors, delivery drivers and clients?
Once again, you can’t perform a full safety brief – that’s where signs come in.
Safety signs ensure that any first-time visitors immediately know what they need to do to stay safe, saving you a considerable amount of time.
As we mentioned before, employers are required by law to take reasonable precautions to keep their sites and their workers safe.
The definition of “reasonable” is a little bit vague, true – while you can’t be reasonably expected to cover every single surface in bubble wrap, it isn’t unreasonable to expect your workplace to have the right safety signs hung up!
Fail to adhere to your signage requirements, and you might find yourself on the receiving end of a fine (or worse) if the worst should happen.
How important is safety? And where are safety signs needed?
The answer to the first question: extremely important!
As an employer, you have a duty of care – as well as a legal obligation – to ensure everyone that works under you is safe, and that you’ve taken all reasonable precautions to look after everyone’s safety.
This is especially important if you deal with hazardous chemicals on a regular basis.
Safety signs are a key part of protecting your staff from a wide range of different workplace accidents.
There are many places throughout your workplace where you’ll need to hang safety signs p – while we may not be able to list every single one (your typical workplace has a lot of signs), we can go through some of the more common ones…
The 4 types of safety signs when working with chemicals
If we’re going to talk about signs for chemicals, then we may as well start with the most important type!
Recognised throughout Australia and most of the Commonwealth (with the exception of Canada), hazchem is a signage system used for hazardous chemicals and other potentially dangerous substances.
Key to this is hazchem signs.
Featuring a danger diamond sign that identifies the substance’s hazchem class using colours, class name and iconography, hazchem signs are essential when working with chemicals, and need to be placed:
- Near storage areas
- At entrances
- On chemical storage cabinets
Emergency information panels
Hazchem signs aren’t the only signs you’ll need when working with hazardous substances – it’s just as important that your hazchem diamonds are backed up by an emergency information panel (EIPs for short).
These signs help convey the rest of the information that won’t fit onto a hazchem diamond with its limited space. We’re talking about things like:
- UN numbers
- Hazchem code
- Specialist instructions
If you’re planning on transporting goods as well as storing them, EIPs are absolutely essential!
Dangerous goods signs and labels
Don’t let the name fool you – while they’re similar to other hazchem signs, these ones are a different category altogether.
Specifically, they refer to signs attached directly to containers, barrels and crates themselves.
Using strong adhesive and coming in a variety of different sizes, you’ll be able to ensure that everything you send out is properly labelled with an appropriate hazchem diamond, GHS label or any other warning.
This globally-recognised system of signs ensures that the risks and hazards associated with your cargo can be immediately understood and recognised, no matter where your shipment came from or where it’s going.
Featuring standardised pictographs and icons, these simple signs are required in all the same places that regular hazchem signs are.
Of course, it’s called the Globally Harmonised System for a reason – while signs are one part of it, there are plenty of other moving parts at play – click here to learn about the role safety data sheets have to play.
Other essential signs for storing and using hazardous chemicals
These are the most important signs when it comes to storing and working with chemicals – however, they aren’t the only ones.
When it comes to safety, there’s no such thing as “too careful”. This extends to the signs you use as well. In addition to the signs listed above, it’s also a good idea to back them up with other types of signs such as:
- Danger signs – these identify the specific hazard faced
- Mandatory signs – these ensure that PPE is worn
- Prohibition signs – ensure that chemicals are kept separated from substances that can generate a reaction
- Fire service signs – fire extinguishers and hoses need to be easily identifiable
And that’s just the beginning – what about all the other signs the typical workplace needs to ensure everything goes smoothly, such as direction and traffic signs for delivery drivers? Or a fire evacuation map, just in case?
What Colour are health and safety signs? Does it matter at all?
Absolutely, it does!
Australian standards don’t just mandate what types of signs you need – they also set out strict requirements regarding those signs’ design, size, pictograms and of course, their their colour.
Of course, it goes beyond that, with Australian standards also setting out required colours and designs for virtually every type of sign you’ll find in the typical workplace.
Use the wrong colours, and you might be in legal hot water!
Keep your workplace safe with Signsmart
If it involves signs, there’s only one team to call: ours.
For starters, we’ve got a huge range of signs that cover virtually every workplace hazard you can think of, from chemicals all the way to fire utilities and more.
Our huge range of premade signs and templates means that we can get your sign to you with minimal turnaround time – something that applies to our custom site safety signs as well!
Our team can make any sign to your spec, be it from a template or a completely clean-sheet design – your instructions can be as clear (or vague) as you want.
Combine that with our fast courier service, and you won’t need to go without proper sign coverage for long.
Alternatively, click here to start shopping!