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Stocksigns MD Danny Adamson on compliance

Mandatory by law and essential to reducing the risk of accidents, the implementation of effective safety signage is crucial to any workplace. Here, Danny Adamson, Managing Director at Stocksigns looks at how compliance with the latest safety requirements can help to ensure a safer working environment for employees.

Workplace fatalities are distressing and tragic occurrences. According to the latest report from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), of the 142 fatal workplace accidents that occurred in the UK between March 2020 and March 2021, 39 of them occurred in construction environments. This number makes construction the deadliest sector to work in, followed by agriculture, forestry and fishing with 34 deaths and manufacturing with 20. 

While it is not meant to be a substitute for proper health and safety protocols, one of the best ways businesses can look to mitigate the risk of on-site accidents is through the implementation of effective, high quality signage. Serving as a constant reminder to staff about risks and protocols, effective signage can, as part of a robust health and safety approach, have a number of benefits, which together significantly decrease the risk of injury. 

Initially published in 1996, the Health and Safety (Signs and Signals) Regulation Act is still in effect and states that safety signage should be used where there is a significant risk to health and safety and where other methods cannot control the risk. 

As such, all businesses are required to clearly display specific signs, such as smoking legislation notices, health and safety law posters and fire extinguisher signs, in addition to industry specific signage. It also stipulates that these must be clearly apparent and conform to the BS ISO 7010 standard in order to ensure consistency. 

Failing to meet this criteria can result in heavy fines, particularly if an accident occurs. Following the publication of ‘Building a Safer Future’ in 2019, the consequences of non-compliance have become tougher. As the report states, moving forward companies should expect “greater oversight by regulators and tougher enforcement when things go wrong.” As such, companies which inadequately use signage across their premises should now expect more pushback from authorities.

Furthermore, it is important not just to uphold regulatory compliance but also adhere to best practice in terms of cleanliness and hygiene signage – as this can have a significant impact on health and safety, as has been evidenced in recent years.  

When assessing the type of signage to implement, those featuring pictograms are a reliable solution. Effective across the board, pictograms help to communicate warnings in an immediate and obvious manner that does not discriminate against non-native speakers. However, if a pictogram sign is specified, it is crucial that it is ISO 7010 compliant. This is the technical standard, which regulates the colours and symbols used on hazard and safety signs, ensuring that messages are universal and therefore recognisable and understandable by all.  

Visibility is crucial, meaning any and all signage must be placed in an obvious position and be clearly seen. A good way to ensure that signs are visible at all times is to specify photoluminescent solutions.  A solution that self-charges in ambient light and illuminates when there is insufficient light, photoluminescent signs ensure that messaging is always clearly visible, even in emergency situations. 

Companies can ensure that they attain signs of the required specification and quality by sourcing from a reliable and established supplier that manufactures all its signage to the required industry standard. 

Stocksigns, for example is a specialist signage supplier that has delivered a variety of bespoke and standardised products since 1955. Due to the company’s wide portfolio, customers will benefit from being able to source all their signs from one place. They will also benefit from the knowledgeable Stocksigns team, including a dedicated site survey and installation team as well as a number of dedicated account managers to help businesses across all sectors to meet legal standards as well as follow industry best practice.

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