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Is it Time for a Safety Sign Audit?

Prioritising safety in the workplace falls under the remit of the business manager/owner. It is your legal obligation to ensure that the right safety signs, safety equipment and measures are in place to either eliminate or reduce risk. A comprehensive risk assessment will help you to do this but there are other factors to consider when creating a strategy designed to support your health & safety measures. A safety sign audit is one way to identify whether your current system is working or whether adaptations are needed. In this guide, we’ll discuss whether it’s time to put one into action.

What is a safety sign audit?

An audit is an unbiased and overlooking assessment of the safety measures put into place in a business. It helps you to better understand what aspects are working, which ones need to be removed and how to better improve the risk-reducing measures you’ve put into place. Audits go hand-in-hand with other annual assessments of your business – ones designed to create safe, productive and thriving environments for both customers and employees.

Why is it important for your business?

As companies expand and grow, their demands change. Environments that could have been well-managed with one sign become too complex, with multiple activities occurring at any given point. Employee numbers grow, staff turnover increases and the general knowledge within the business changes. Updates to safety legislation also have an impact on existing safety set-ups – where you may once have abided by all recommendations, the business may now fall short.

It is important to analyse, audit and review your safety activities on a yearly basis to ensure you remain compliant with legal guidelines. And, an audit is an all-encompassing and effective way to do this.

Carrying out a safety audit – our tips

As with a risk assessment, there is no legal structure as to how this should take place. What you must do is create a logical way to record your findings so they can be reviewed at a later date. You will also make note of any challenges you’ve encountered and the suggested measures to minimise these. Here are some of our top tips when it comes to auditing your business and focusing on your safety signs.

Start from outside

Safety signs aren’t just relevant inside of the building. Many hazards are specific to outdoor environments on your business land, including those in parking spaces and presented on outdoor walkways. You will need to establish how significant of a risk these are and how to manage them. For example, if you receive a lot of deliveries throughout the day, you may need to consider signs such as the ‘No Vehicles Beyond This Point Sign’ to manage the flow of traffic. Or the ‘Caution Heavy Vehicles Turning Ahead’ sign to reduce the risk to pedestrians.

Consider too how visible your existing signs are. Have they become worn or aged over time? Can the information printed on them still be read easily? Do you need to look into solutions for low-light corners of your car park or walkways? We recommend that external signs be manufactured from our 1mm rigid plastic to provide added durability against varying weather conditions. And it is important to install them at eye height and close to the hazard in question to minimise the chance of misunderstanding.

Check all walkways

The most common types of hazards involve slips, trips and falls. And, the most hazardous places within businesses where these happen are in walkways. It pays to review all corridors, hallways and paths throughout your business, as well as non-structured paths that are frequented often. Organising the flow of traffic is a brilliant way to bring structure and can easily be done with Directional Signs. They provide clear information to employees, visitors and guests, advising them of one-way systems or traffic moderation methods that exist across your business.

Again, take note of low-light conditions. Walkways can be an essential tool when leaving the building in an emergency. Therefore, you may wish to consider Photoluminescent designs. These specialist surfaces absorb the energy from both natural and artificial light throughout the day. In the event of a power cut or blackout, they emit a green glow that allows the information to be read and directions to be understood. These are an effective alternative to installing additional lighting.

Consider fire safety

Fire safety signs are some of the most important in your business. They are essential in all businesses, playing a key role in your legal responsibility and helping to keep people safe in the event of an emergency. We have written a blog post all about UK Fire Exit Regulations here and a blog post about ‘How To Create a Fire Escape Plan For Your Business’ here. During your safety sign audit, review whether the measures you have in place work. When carrying out a routine fire safety drill, were employees able to leave the building in an organised and safe manner to find their meeting point? Did the fire safety signs in place do their job effectively or were some individuals left confused about the best means to exit?

Consider education/training

It is important to look at the state, positioning and usability of the safety signs in your workplace. But, it is equally as important to consider the training and education put in place for employees. UK safety signs are designed to be universally understood – specifically those manufactured in accordance with ISO 7010. However, you still need to ensure that people understand how they’re supposed to be used to get the best results. It helps to explain the individual hazards, the reasons why certain measures are put into place and to gain an understanding from them as to whether any issues haven’t been addressed.

safety sign audit should give you a better understanding of how well your business is handling the challenges posed to it with the right signage. If you would like support or advice on carrying one out or identifying signs for different hazards, please get in touch with the team here today.