complete physical, mental, social, psychological, and spiritual well-being. It is, therefore, mandatory that the health for workers, citizens, and every person is maintained and ensured. This is done through normal communications about risk factors that may result to poor health.
One way of communicating is by displaying health and safety signs. These signs pass specific message to people who may be exposed to a health hazard for purposes of warning them. The warning aids in preventing accidents indicate relevant guidance information in an emergency situation and indicate the location of safety equipment.
Attributes of Good Signage
There are many signs that exist in the world, most of them are conventional signs decided upon by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to avoid inconsistencies that may exist between different regions. These signs must have the following attributes namely:
They must be in a simple language for easy understanding.
They must be clearly written or drawn.
They must be consistent and without variations from one country to another.
They should be accompanied by a conventional diagram.
Only the following colours are allowed for safety shapes; red for prohibitions, yellow for caution, green for positive action, and blue for mandatory actions.
Safety signs may be in four shapes, namely circular shape for instructions and prohibitions, squares and rectangles for information and emergency signs, and triangular shapes for warnings.
Importance of Health and Safety Signs
World Health Organisation (WHO) in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has given guidelines to be followed by employers to ensure that their workplace is safe. These guidelines minimise the risks associated with workplace accidents and increase the occupational safety of the workers. It is prudent to have signs that do not just warn, but also give a solution to impending danger. For instance, hazardous gas warning is ideally accompanied by sign for wearing a gas mask.
Importantly is to understand that health and safety signs per se cannot be a solution to the accidents that are experienced at workplace, roads, or recreational sites. There is a mandatory need to have well-trained occupational health specialist who not only ensure that the signs are appropriately located, but also continuously advise workers and users on safety measures they should observe.
Many questions on where and when should the signage be placed are common; the answer will vary depending on the workplace environment. In enclosed settings, the signs can be pinned on walls where many people will have a look at them. They can also be placed on machines or equipment to remind operators of the precautions they should take and at points of use sites like refuse receptacles in hospitals. All signs should be used whenever appropriate and necessary; for instance, wet floor safety sign should not be used when the floor is dry.