You know all about how your business needs to handle and transport dangerous goods. You also know about the importance of safety signs in the workplace like dangerous goods signs!
What you might not know however is what types of information those signs should – nay, are required by law – to include.
And it isn’t just the contents, either – Australian standards also set out:
- Exactly how big they need to be
- Font sizes
- Sign colours
- And more!
It’s a lot to keep track of – luckily, our signage experts are here to help you out!
5 things dangerous goods signs NEED to include
“Dangerous goods” is a broad term, covering all sorts of substances that have the potential to cause harm to people and the environment. Under Hazchem, a number of different classes are identified based on the danger posed:
- Radioactive materials
- Flammable liquids
- Infectious substances
These are just some of the categories – many of them even have subcategories!
One of the most important things on any dangerous goods sign is the substance’s hazchem class, expressed in writing,
It isn’t just the name of the hazchem class your signs will need to include – each hazchem class comes with a number that identifies it.
In addition to the name, it’s also important that your signs list the hazchem number as well.
Each hazchem class or subclass features a number for easy, immediate identification. Australian standards require this to be positioned immediately underneath the substance name.
“Eh, it’s just a picture, as long as it’s visible, it’ll get the job done.”
Australian WHS laws are very strict about this – any signs in the workplace need to use the appropriate pictograms laid out by Hazchem regulations.
While it may sound excessive, the idea is that if all pictograms are standardised, then anybody will be able to immediately recognise the risk between workplaces.
Using non-standard pictograms can lead to momentary confusion – while it might only take a second or two, that might be all it takes for a workplace accident to occur!
Australian standards don’t just lay out what your signs need to say – they also require specific colours for your dangerous goods labels and signs.
Each hazchem class comes with a specific colour combination. For example, explosives are orange, flammable gasses and liquids are red, while flammable solids use red-and-white stripes.
This allows people to immediately identify what they’re working with at a glance – and from a distance as well. No need to walk up and check what the sign says when you can immediately tell what you’re dealing with based on colour alone!
Thanks to Australia’s adoption of GHS standards, many workplaces now need to enhance their existing dangerous goods signs and labels, hazchem signs and EIPs with a new type of sign: GHS signs.
You’ve probably seen them around – these small diamond signs are similar to dangerous goods signs, but with a couple of differences:
- GHS is recognised globally, not just in Australia
- They’re much clearer than other dangerous goods signs and labels
- Less visual clutter
- These only feature pictographs depicting the associated risk
While they don’t communicate the details about the substance itself, they do communicate what hazards you might be facing succinctly and effectively.
We suggest using these signs in conjunction with your other dangerous goods signs and labels just to make sure all of your bases are covered. A good idea is to hang them up together so that both types of signs complement each other.
And don’t be afraid to double-up if a substance poses more than one risk!
Since the public has no specialised knowledge when it comes to handling dangerous goods, dangerous goods signs and labels are key in informing the public that there are dangerous substances nearby, as well as what hazards these substances pose.
Of course, that raises another question: “where?”
You don’t have an unlimited sign budget – not to mention, it’s just plain unfeasible to put signs literally everywhere. You’ve got to pick your battles.
Luckily, Australian WHS laws are pretty clear on this front, meaning you won’t need to panic as you try to figure out where dangerous goods signs are needed…
Short on ideas? We’ve got some for you
What better place to start than by hanging signs up at the places where you store the substances in question?
Signs in these locations offer an immediate reminder to anyone passing by or who’s looking for a potentially dangerous substance what risks they face if they don’t handle them properly.
Another good idea is near entrances, just to let people know what they’re getting into.
And finally, don’t forget the containers themselves!
In addition to signs that you hang up, our online safety sign shop also makes stickers and adhesive labels that attach directly to containers themselves, allowing you to ensure that each and every shipment, bottle or box is correctly labelled.
Shop for more than just dangerous goods signs and labels
Find out how Signsmart can help you today
When it comes to workplace safety signs, we’ve got your workplace covered.
Our team are specialists in hazchem safety – we can help you:
- Identify the substances
- Choose the right signs
- Get the appropriate sizes
Of course, it goes beyond dangerous goods signs and labels.
Our online sign shop stocks everything you need to help keep your workplace safe, with a massive selection of different workplace health and safety signs that cover any and all risks.
Need something unique? We also offer custom safety signs tailored to the unique hazards of your workplace, with fast nationwide delivery that ensures you don’t need to go long without appropriate signage cover.
You can also visit us for custom safety signs in Australia: pop into our headquarters at 122 Whitehall Street, Footscray, VIC 3011, if you prefer a more hands-on approach.