In many premises you will need to use safety signs to warn employees, volunteers and visitors of any hazards and what precautions might be necessary.
If an employee, volunteer, or guest is injured on your premises, you may need to show that you have met your duty of care.
As an employer you also must comply with specific health and safety laws, like the Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations.
Under these regulations you need to provide:
- Safety signs where risk assessments (under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations) indicate they are needed
- Fire safety signs in accordance with the requirements of your fire risk assessment
- Road traffic safety signs where there is a risk from the presence of movement of traffic
- Relevant information and training for employees on the meaning of any safety signs or signals provided and the precautions to be taken
Even if you are not an employer, but control non-domestic premises you may still have a duty to make sure the premises are safe. This includes the provision of any safety signs or signals where necessary.
Example hazards that may require signage:
- Low ceiling or pipes
- Areas where objects might fall onto people
- Non-obvious steps or sudden changes in floor levels
- Temporary hazardous conditions such as wet floors
- Larger than normal visitor numbers to your premises
How safety signs can help
Here are some examples of how you can use safety signs, to:
- Prohibit dangerous activities
- Warn of hazards
- Specify mandatory precautions to be taken
- Show escape routes or location of firefighting or first aid equipment
- For staff and volunteers to communicate with each other
Using safety signs
1. Tour your premises to check the suitability of existing safety signs or to identify where new signs may be required.
2. Put up safety signs as required and make sure they are well maintained via periodic checks.
3. Ensure employees and volunteers understand what safety signs and signals mean.
4. Document your arrangements and responsibilities for you using safety signs and signals.