Workplace safety is important – you know that, we know that, everyone knows that.
What fewer business owners know is the importance of signage.
Yep, the humble workplace safety sign carries with it huge importance. No matter what industry your business operates in, it’s crucial that your site has appropriate signage.
In particular, if you deal with chemicals, hazchem signs and emergency information panels are must-haves!
“But it’s just a sign,” you think, “what could possibly make them so important?”
The importance of hazchem signs and emergency information panels
1) Communicate key safety messages
If we’re going to talk about the importance of safety signs, we may as well start with the most obvious one!
Naturally, the most important function of any sign is to communicate. With regards to workplace safety signs in particular, it’s all about communicating safety messages.
Workplace health and safety starts with the proactive efforts to ensure that workers and visitors know about the risks and hazards, as well as what they should do to keep themselves safe.
There are many ways to communicate this – chief among them, signage.
Hazchem signs and emergency information panels (EIP) for example immediately communicate safety messages visually through colour and printed information.
2) Protection for the general public
Your regular workers are no doubt familiar with the substances you handle, as well as the associated risks. Ideally, you’ll have covered them during your training process.
But what about visitors to your site?
Unlike employees that went through specialised training, members of the public have no specific training in handling hazardous substances.
They don’t have the hands-on experience your regular crew does, nor is it possible to carry out a full training program every time you get a visitor.
If only there was a way to quickly and succinctly communicate the hazards present to people who may be visiting your workplace for the first time… oh wait, there is!
The beautiful thing about hazchem signs and EIPs is that they provide immediate warnings – while a visitor may not immediately know the proper process, they’ll at least be on their guard, alert and extra cautious.
3) Highlights the violent reaction of the chemical
Certain hazchem substances are flammable. Others, explosive. Some react violently in other ways.
Chemical reactions can happen to any substance exposed to heat, fire, electricity and pressure. If not handled properly, these chemicals may result in combustion and explosion, increasing the risk of accidents, injuries, and even death.
Sure, you could order a custom safety sign for each storage area outlining each possible reaction. However, that’s not efficient for most businesses.
The solution? Hazchem signs and emergency information panels.
These signs feature standardised hazchem classes. Not only does this allow you to communicate the potential violent reactions, but since these classes are standardised, you won’t have to do the research yourself.
All you need to do is consult the safety datasheet (SDS) and select the hazchem class (or classes) that apply.
4) It tells your staff what personal protective equipment (PPE) to use
Personal protective equipment (PPE) minimises worker’s risk of compromising their health and safety. Business owners know that certain tasks require the use of certain PPE to manage risks and accidents.
The issue is that different substances require different types of PPE.
Hazchem and EIPs inform workers of the specific PPE to use a number of ways:
- Certain hazchem classes will require specific types of PPE
- Hazchem codes and UN numbers can be used to identify appropriate PPE
- GHS signs identify specific risks, which staff can use to extrapolate appropriate PPE and handling
Of course, you can take this even further by installing site safety signs as well as mandatory signs.
While there are laws mandating hazchem signs and emergency information panels for businesses that store and handle chemicals, there are none saying that you can only set up hazchem signs and EIPs.
5) It’s a legal requirement
As any Australian business owner knows, there’s a whole host of different OHS laws and regulations that exist.
These regulations require employers to take all reasonable steps to guarantee worker safety and minimise the risk of accident or injury.
Putting up a workplace safety sign is pretty easy – not to mention, it’s pretty basic too. These make it a pretty reasonable first step.
And that also means that there’s no excuse for not putting signs up!
As we always reiterate, hazchem and emergency information panels (EIPs) are a crucial part of your OHS obligations. When it comes to hazardous chemicals, these signs are in fact a legal requirement!
While each state has its own OHS laws, these laws are broadly uniform, including in their signage requirements.
6) Protection for motorists and drivers
As mentioned above, one of the purposes behind hazchem signs and EIPs is to protect the general public.
In particular, emergency information panels are crucial in protecting motorists while transporting chemicals.
Should a spill happen while on the road, emergency services need to know exactly what they’re doing with. This requires an exact chemical name, as well as its hazchem code and UN number.
Luckily for you, transport EIPs feature all of this information, allowing you to keep the public safe.
Buy hazchem signs and emergency information panels online
Find out how Signsmart can help your business today
Prioritise the health and safety for your business and employees with Signsmart’s range of workplace safety signs.
In addition to hazchem signs and emergency information panels, Signsmart also offers a range of other safety signs. We’ve got everything your business needs, to stay safe!
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