Good workplace safety starts with good workplace safety signs.
In our experience, danger signs, hazard signs and more are the first line of defence against a workplace accident or injury, as well as a crucial part of your workplace safety strategy.
However, it’s a defence that won’t do much if people don’t understand what the hazard signs around them mean. Nor will it help if you end up ordering the wrong types of signs for your workplace altogether!
The team at Signsmart is committed to creating safer workplaces all over Australia – we don’t just provide signs, but we also explain common hazard signs, their purpose and their meanings.
The most common hazards signs and meanings
There are a lot of different types of hazard signs out there – we’d be here for hours if we were to explain each one of them.
Why are there so many? Simple: there are a lot of different workplace hazards out there, each of which needs its own dedicated sign. It would be impossible for you to know them all off by heart.
Luckily for you, the different types of workplace hazard signs are pretty easy to recognise.
To demonstrate, we’re going to highlight a couple of common hazard signs, and how you can recognise them.
Caution signs are incredibly important in the workplace and as such, you’ll be seeing a lot of them.
Think of caution signs as a warning about what sorts of hazards to expect in the workplace. Sure, the hazard is not certain to occur, but if you aren’t taking precautions it very well could.
These signs tend to be commonly placed either:
- Directly next to the hazard it’s depicting
- At the entrance to your business
For example, look no further than the ubiquitous “WET FLOOR” sign. When placed directly next to a spill, it immediately tells staff and visitors that there’s a slipping hazard nearby, and that they should take care.
A “BEWARE: GUARD DOGS” sign is also a caution sign. And not just for your staff, either – any ne’er-do-wells will see the sign and recognise that by approaching, they are putting themselves at risk.
However, not all caution signs warn against physical injury – they can also be used to identify long-term harm.
An “ASBESTOS FIBRES” sign is also a caution sign. Just like a spill or guard dog, asbestos fibres are a health hazard – only this time, it can take years for the symptoms to start presenting.
As a general rule, you’ll be able to recognise caution sign thanks to their bright yellow colour. Additionally, most caution signs literally spell it out for you, prominently displaying the word ‘CAUTION” at the top, as well as an image of the potential hazard in a black triangle.
White backing. Black header. Big red “DANGER” sticker along the top. The hazard written in attention-grabbing red text.
Yep, it’s pretty hard to miss a danger sign!
A danger sign is warning you about a situation or substance that will cause immediate physical harm to you. While something like asbestos or radiation might cause cancer in a couple of years, a workplace danger can hurt you right now.
Danger signs should be employed at any workplace with:
- Heavy machinery
- Toxic or corrosive substances
- Pits and long drops
- Electrical cables
- Flammable materials
For example, if you had a crane operating at your work site then you would need a “DANGER: CRANE WORKING OVERHEAD SIGN”.
This is because the danger posed by the crane is immediate. If something goes wrong, there will be immediate physical harm to those one site.
Danger signs should also be employed for dangerous substances and materials.
This means that if you are working with any chemical or material that is corrosive, you need a “DANGER: CORROSIVE” sign. This includes acids and particularly harsh chemicals, as these substances that can have an immediate detrimental physical impact.
When the danger comes from a substance or material, we strongly suggest plastering your storage area with danger signs – this is especially important for depots and warehouses.
Click here to learn the difference between hazard signs and danger signs.
Emergency Information Panels (EIPs)
EIP stands for Emergency Information Panel. Like the name suggests, this is a sign that’s responsible for communicating a lot of information, including:
- Substance name
- Substance classification
- Hazard presented (flammable, corrosive, etc)
- Hazchem reference
- Appropriate safety procedure
In addition to identifying the hazard, EIPs also provide all the information you need to respond to an accident or spill.
For example, most EIPs feature a hazchem reference. This is an internationally-recognised standard that identifies hazardous materials, as well as how to respond to accidents.
This means that in the event of an emergency, the emergency services teams (fire brigade, police etc) will know what they are dealing with and how to deal with it.
There are two different kinds of EIPs:
When a driver is out on the road, they could be hours away from help. As such, drivers need to know what to do and who to call right there and then.
As a result, transport EIPs generally feature more information such as the ‘Specialist Advice’ and relevant phone number.
At Signsmart, we produce custom EIP signage can be customised to any substance or material that you require. Simply tell us the substance name, hazchem code and everything you want to include.
Don’t know all this information? No problem – we’ll do the research for you!
An EIP can be recognised because it is predominantly white, with written information about the substance on the left and a highly visible class diamond (ie – dangerous goods classification) identifying the substance and threat.
Build a safer workplace today
Shop hazard signs online with Signsmart
If you are worried about a workplace accident, then don’t take a chance – get in contact with the team of safety experts at Signsmart.
Workplace safety is incredibly important to our team – it’s why we do what we do!
We will ask all the right questions and ensure that your workplace is equipped with every safety sign it needs to protect your team against common workplace hazards.
We provide a large range of products, and not just for the most common hazards:
- Hazchem and EIP
- Dangerous goods signs and labels
- Site safety panels
- Corporate signage
- Custom whiteboards
Does your business deal with substances that are unique or rare? We also custom-print safety signs – tell us what you need, and we’ll get it printed and dispatched to you, ASAP.
In some cases, we’ve even been able to get signs to clients by the next day!