Visual warnings of potential hazards are extremely important in the fight to eradicate accidents and injuries in numerous settings. In this regard, safety signage has a huge role to play. Unlike other ways of informing people about potential dangers, such as telling them verbally, safety signage has a big impact and is, more often than not, instantly recognised and, perhaps more importantly than that, memorable. Therefore, the importance of safety signage – both in the public realm and within workplaces – should not be underestimated. Why is it so crucial these days? Read on to find out.
It is important that people understand safety issues even if they are not entirely focussed on them. Simple visual language including the use of colour makes safety warnings easier to take on board even though we might not always realise we are doing so. That’s why road warning signs on UK roads are always bounded with a red triangular border, for example. You might not recognise what every sign you see means but you should know it is warning you about something at least. Workplace safety signage uses similar psychological techniques to make people take notice. For example, white exclamation marks picked out on a blue circular background always signify something that is important or that demands further attention. There again, yellow and black are often used to signify the presence of potentially toxic materials nearby, such as certain chemicals.
Although safety signage can – and often does – include written information, it is a primarily visual language that uses signs and images to convey safety information. A picture of a pair of boots on safety signage at a building site, for example, would be instantly recognisable to anyone who saw it that safety boots ought to be worn. Crucially, this message is conveyed even if someone does not – or cannot – read the accompanying written information. In short, it works just as well for native English speakers as it does for anyone who doesn’t understand written English.
According to 4Site Implementation, a specialist in safety signage and site hoarding solutions, one of the chief reasons businesses install safety signage nowadays is due to their legal obligations. Without it, companies could face penalties even if no accidents or injuries occurred. Even worse, site and business operations might be shut down by the authorities if there were to be an accident that could have otherwise been prevented by providing the relevant information with good safety information. So, meeting the legal requirements isn’t just about jumping over a regulatory hurdle but ensuring business operations can carry on unhindered.
Responsible Business Messaging
There can be little doubt that some businesses think safety signage is necessary but something they’d prefer to do without. However, firms that take safety seriously also tend to be looked on as better commercial operators by employees, subcontractors and the public alike. In other words, doing business responsibly and safely helps to improve brand image. With safety signs co-branded with corporate logos, for example, such marketing messaging can also be more effectively rammed home.
You may be interested in: 6 Useful Tips for Digital Signage Content Design