Health and Safety Signs

Published: 25th May 2010
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Health and Safety signs are intended to warn us about any potentially dangerous situations that might arise and to advise us what we should do should an emergency situation occur. Legislation passed at government level makes it mandatory for specific Health and Safety signs to be displayed and makes it perfectly clear which situations require which sign. Warning signs may be placed in a strategic area to advise an individual about a minor hazard, or about avoid something that is progressively more severe, such as the risk of radiation, or another bio-hazard. Ignoring these signs could have a very serious impact on a person's well-being.

Legislation Necessitating Different Signs

Even in situations that may only be socially unacceptable, warning signs are used. Until recently anti-smoking warning signs were discretionary on the doors to stores and other buildings. Similarly, there would usually be signs alongside banning dogs from premises unless the dogs in question were guide dogs. Whilst the warning signs for dogs remain discretionary, government legislation in the UK has now made smoking in public places illegal and the Health and Safety signs have now been altered to reflect that fact.

Another mandatory requirement in all public places is the ubiquitous Fire Safety signs. These are possibly the most well-known Health and Safety signs seen around and about. Red Fire Safety signs warn the public where the fire alarm is located and where firefighting equipment might be stored. However, a green Fire Safety sign advises the public that it is indicating a Fire Exit sign to them. First Aid signs and Hygiene signs are two other signs that the public often see around them.

Health and Safety Signs Specific to Various Businesses

Some businesses need to use Hazardous Waste warning signs whilst others need to advise personnel against slipping on a wet floor. There are also different signs for burning: a chemical warning sign is different to a Health and Safety sign warning the public about a hot oven. Many warning signs are quite generic and can easily be adapted for use whichever business is being carried out. However, when it comes to construction work there are some Health and Safety signs that are particularly specific for this particular field of work: reminders to wear steel toe-capped boots; reminders to wear hard hats; and reminders to wear protective gloves are just three such Health and Safety signs.

It is the Individual's Responsibility to Take Notice

Legislation has been passed by the government to ensure the safety of the public generally and employees specifically. There is plenty of advice and professional help available to ensure the most appropriate Health and Safety signs

are being used in the relevant places. However, that being said, it is the responsibility of the management of each establishment, organization and business to ensure the proper Health and Safety signs are clearly displayed. Furthermore, it is the responsibility of the individual to ensure they take notice of these Health and Safety signs which have clearly been put up to prevent accidents from occurring unnecessarily.

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