Regardless of what kind of business you’re running, you probably need some level of health and safety signage. There’s a very good chance it’s a legal requirement. Even if it isn’t, it is often very much in your best interest to provide it.

Here, Malcolm Judson the Managing Director at Judsons Signs, shares his expertise on some of the reasons why health and safety signage is an asset to your business.

It keeps you on the right side of the law

The most pragmatic reason for implementing health and safety signage is that it keeps you on the right side of the law. In some cases, there may be a direct requirement to have appropriate signage.

Firstly, the Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996 explicitly mandates appropriate health and safety signage in certain situations. It also lays down rules on the design of the various types of health and safety signs. This is to ensure that messaging is clear and consistent.

Secondly, various pieces of legislation make it clear that an employer has a duty of care towards its employees and a business has a duty of care towards the public as a whole. Providing appropriate health and safety signage helps to fulfil that duty of care. It, therefore, helps to demonstrate compliance with the law.

As a corollary to this, it can help to ward off personal injury lawsuits. Essentially, the more clearly you instruct people on how to keep themselves safe, the harder it is for them to sue you if they are injured.

It will help in the event of an insurance claim

No matter what type of insurance policy you have, the policy is almost guaranteed to state that you must take all reasonable steps to guard against the risk. Being able to demonstrate that you have effective health and safety signage in place removes one potential barrier to having an insurance claim rejected.

On a similar note, health and safety signage may help to lower the cost of your insurance premiums. The more effective your health and safety processes are, the less likely it is that you will need to claim on your insurance. The less you claim on your insurance, the less you are likely to be charged for it.

It helps you to assess risk

The obvious way to use health and safety signage is to look for risks and then invest in signage to warn people of it. This is certainly a valid approach. It can, however, be helpful to try the opposite strategy. Learn about the main types of health and safety signs. Then check your workplace and see if you can identify any areas that would benefit from them.

For completeness, the main types of health and safety signs are:

  • Mandatory signs – Signs that people must do something (e.g., wear a hard hat)
  • Prohibition signs – Signs that people must not do something (e.g., Smoke)
  • Warning signs – Signs that alert people to a hazard
  • Safe condition signs – Signs that highlight what people may need to do to keep safe
  • Fire equipment signs – Signs that show people where to locate fire-fighting aids

It helps prevent workplace accidents

The reason why the government mandates the use of health and safety signage is that it does help to prevent workplace accidents. At a broader level, it also helps to promote safety. For example, COVID19-specific, health and safety signage reminded people of actions to take to prevent the spread of the virus.

Workplace signage can often seem like stating the obvious. In fact, they often are. The key point to remember, however, is that it can be easy to overlook the obvious. It’s particularly easy when people are under stress of any kind. This can be as minor as being pushed by a deadline or as serious as needing to evacuate a building in an emergency.

It reinforces training

Like all forms of training, health and safety training will soon be forgotten unless it is regularly and consistently reinforced. Health and safety signage is an affordable and effective way of reminding employees of what they learned in formal training. It can also provide a useful stopgap for new employees who have yet to receive the relevant training.

On a broader level, health and safety signs can reinforce training carried out on behalf of other stakeholders such as public safety and health authorities. These authorities regularly undertake campaigns on relevant health and safety issues

It is reassuring

Displaying health and safety signage demonstrates that companies take health and safety seriously. Taking health and safety seriously demonstrates corporate social (and environmental) responsibility. This is not just appreciated but increasingly expected, by modern consumers.

It also helps to ensure that everyone knows what’s expected of them. An obvious example of this is the transition to the post-COVID19 new normal. Official COVID19 restrictions are becoming much looser. The onus is increasingly on companies to set their own rules to suit their own situation.

Using signage is an easy way to communicate those rules. What’s more, the fact that signage is affordable means that it is easy to update as required. It’s also easy to implement health and safety signage even when hazards are expected to be temporary.

It is good for reputation management

As the old saying goes, no news is good news. In the context of health and safety, no news means that you are not being hit with adverse publicity regarding your track record of health and safety. Even when no damage is caused, accusations of being lax on health and safety can have repercussions for your business.

If there is damage and you are at fault, then the immediate financial cost may be the least of your worries. The disruption and reputational damage can be far more serious issues. Investing in health and safety signage does a lot to protect you against this threat.

Why choose traditional signage over digital signage

Digital signage has many uses but these uses tend to relate to marketing more than safety. Traditional signage does its job without electricity (although it can have the option to be lit). It works in all conditions, indoors and outdoors, wherever it is needed without the concern of cabling (or even batteries).


About the author

Malcolm Judson is the Managing Director at Judsons Signs, specialists in sign making for vehicles, schools and commercial and retail spaces. Judsons Signs manage the entire sign making process, from design and manufacturing to installation.