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Workplaces shouldn’t ignore the signs

16 June 2010

Many businesses and other organisations throughout the UK are risking prosecution by not having sufficient safety signs in place despite them being one of the cheapest and easiest ways of preventing workplace accidents.

Workplaces shouldn’t ignore the signs
Workplaces shouldn’t ignore the signs

However according to workplace equipment provider Slingsby, which sells 35,000 branded and non branded products through its catalogue and website, including thousands of safety signs, many organisations are still unsure of their basic legal obligations.

Under The Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996, employers are required to provide specific safety signs whenever there is a risk that has not been eradicated by other means.

In cases where a safety sign would not help to reduce the risk, or where the risk is not significant, there is no need to provide a sign.

The regulations also state that unfamiliar signs should be explained to employees and all signs should be well-maintained. Where necessary, signs are also required to regulate road traffic within workplaces.

Lee Wright, marketing director of Slingsby, explained: "Safety signs are cheap, quick and easy to introduce and are one of the simplest and most effective ways of warning employees of potential hazards or risks. However we regularly visit organisations where employees could injure themselves because the correct signs are not in place.

"In addition, generally signs that contain just text are not permitted. Instead they must also include a pictogram and be a specific shape and colour depending on the sign's meaning. These regulations apply to all places and activities where people are employed, but exclude signs and labels used in connection with the supply of substances, products and equipment or the transport of dangerous goods."

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