You’ve probably heard the all-too-common advice: when an emergency happens, the best thing for you to do is to stay calm. However, as most people who have experienced emergencies can attest to, this is often easier said than done.
Normally, emergencies result in panic. Imagine being confined with your co-workers and not knowing where to run. This leads to more confusion and can cause more injuries or worse – casualties.
Fortunately, law now required that businesses comply with certain standards to ensure the safety of everyone in the workplace. One of these is the installation of exit signs.
Apart from leading everyone in the building to safety outside in case of an emergency, exit signs are important for the following reasons:
1. It Ensures Compliance with Regulations
When running a business, you must pay special attention to aspects that could result in legal action. There are many rules and regulations to comply with, workplace safety being one of the most important. If you ignore legal regulations, you risk consequences such as fines, imprisonment, loss of staff, and productivity—all could lead to permanent closure and loss of income.
When installing exit signs at your workplace, follow these tips to ensure compliance:
- Install the proper size signs. This can differ depending on where you’re from, so research local regulations before you buy your signs; it will save you time and money.
- Keep the exit signs illuminated, even in case of an emergency. Using LED bulbs and a backup battery attached to them not only keeps your signs illuminated at all times, they’re energy efficient and last longer than other options such as fluorescent lighting, saving you money.
- Ensure that your exit doors are clear (not blocked by obstacles such as cleaning carts) at all times, even when there’s no emergency. In addition, they must be unlocked from the inside and no alarm or security devices should be attached to them that can restrict access when there’s an emergency.
- Showcase clear directional signs, such as braille exit signs, in hallways, staircases and on door latches so your employees and customers will know exactly where to find the nearest exit in an emergency.
2. It Illuminates a Path to Safety
Exit signs guide everyone in your workplace building to find their way out if an emergency breaks out. With clear directional signs inside the building, you create a calmer environment where people can exit in a more orderly manner.
During an emergency, it’s normal for people to lose focus and think illogically. Even if they’ve been coming to the same office for years, they may feel confused in a dangerous situation. To help your employees stay calm if such a situation were to happen, do a monthly safety drill with them. During these drills, you can remind them of what to do in an emergency and encourage them to familiarize themselves with where all the emergency exits are.
Regular safety drills also ensure that new employees know exactly what to do and where to go, reducing the possibility of confusion-related injuries during an emergency even more.
3. Helps International Visitors Feel Safe
Worldwide, when most people see an arrow with a person running near an exit, they know exactly what it means—no matter what language they speak . If you’ve got a multilingual workforce or customer base, exit signs ensure that even those who don’t speak English are safe. They’ll know where to go and won’t have to rely on others during an emergency.
4. It Reduces the Risk of Unnecessary Accidents and Death
Rather, it’s because of the stress and panic of the people trapped inside the building.
It’s natural to become stressed when you don’t know where to go. In response to this overwhelming stress, your body goes through physiological changes. Some may have a hard time breathing; others may trip, fall, or bump into each other.
But if the road to safety is made clear through directional and exit signs, these unfortunate accidents could be avoided altogether. By using exit signs to help you maintain a calm and orderly environment during an emergency, you’ll be saved from personal injury claims in the aftermath of the emergency, too.
Emergencies are unexpected and mostly, you have no control over them happening. Installing exit signs in your business is important for both your workers and customers’ safety, and to comply with legal requirements.
Take a walk through your business building and make you’re prepared for the unexpected. If not, now is the perfect time to have exit signs installed.