Did you know that having non-compliant signage could lead to extensive fines, prison sentences, personal injuries or even loss of life? Signage, especially in an emergency, is vital to help people remain safe and is an important element of the health and safety ethos in every business.
Stocksigns, based in Redhill, Surrey, has provided signs to British businesses for over 60 years. Their team of experts help companies understand the signage they need and what makes them compliant with the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO).
David Cload, one of Stocksigns’ expert surveyors, explains more about the importance of signage, “One area which requires compulsory signage is fire exits. An escape route should be the shortest, quickest and safest path out of the building from any given location. The correct signage will allow people to easily find their way out in the event of an emergency. For example, an ‘up’ arrow on a fire exit sign should be used to point people towards the next sign or an exit. A ‘down’ arrow means that the nearest fire exit is downstairs immediately after the sign.
“These directional signs should always be visible and the next escape sign along the route must be clearly seen. Signage is required at every change of direction along the escape route and fire exit signs must be above all final fire exit doors. There should also be no conflicting signs along the route.
“In addition to fire exit signs, it is the mandatory responsibility of the employer to provide safety signage if there is a significant risk that can’t be avoided or controlled in another way. If a sign does not help reduce the risk or the risk is not significant enough, there is no need for a sign.
“Sometimes if there are too many signs people become ‘sign blind’ and do not notice the content of the sign itself. It is important to identify serious risks or hazards so employees and visitors pay attention to what is highlighted.”
Every workplace in the UK has a legal obligation to display the ‘Health and Safety Law’ poster. It explains both the employers’ and employees’ duties under the Health and Safety Information for Employees Regulations Act 1989.
David Cload continues, “ISO7010 is the European design guidance for all health and safety signs. It is designed so that information is standardised in an easy-to-understand way. Whatever European country an employer or employee is from they should recognise and understand the meaning of a sign. To comply to this standard, the signs must adhere to particular shapes and colours.
“In a worst case scenario, if found guilty by a court for an accident caused by inappropriate signage an employer could be charged with gross negligence or, in the case of a fatality, manslaughter. An employer could face fines or even a custodial sentence. The good news is, if no accident has occurred, business owners will be given a period of time to replace or update their safety signage.
“At Stocksigns we aim to advise on the most appropriate signage solution according to the customer’s needs. Our team has extensive training and knowledge to assist the customer correctly.”
A range of signs are available from the Stocksigns website. Stocksigns has an expert site survey team to help businesses with large, complex projects and provides assistance in installing compliant signage.