When And Where to Display Safety Signs in Your Warehouse
Darryl Philbin can be seen in many episodes of “The Office” trying to maintain productivity and safety in the warehouse he runs at Dunder Mifflin. One would think that office manager Michael Scott would be supportive of Darryl’s efforts, but instead Michael regularly ignores the safety signs. On an award-winning sitcom, having characters obnoxiously refuse to follow warnings and guidelines can be hilarious. In the real world, however, having employees or managers that ignore or don’t see the signs can lead to all kinds of dangerous consequences. Smart use of signage can help you display the advisories that keep your warehouse safe and running smoothly.
The whys of safety signage
· It’s required: OSHA requires you have proper signage in your place of business to protect employees and customers. By law, you have to have the necessary signs posted and in a visible area. Having safety information in employee handbooks or relaying it verbally during orientation and staff meetings isn’t sufficient in the eyes of the law.
· It protects your business: A lack of safety warnings places you at risk for losing your business or becoming involved in a lawsuit. As a warehouse business owner, you’re responsible for the safety of employees. Not posting signs in obvious and appropriate places is an invitation for trouble.
· It provides reminders: Your employees may be well-versed about warehouse safety, but customers may not. If you have customer areas for warehouse sales or service, it’s important to provide them with reminders so they can be mindful about their safety. Use signage to let them know about hard hat areas, to watch out for ladders or wet floors or any other situation that might pose as a potential safety hazard. Make it clear which areas are for customers and which parts of the warehouse are off-limits.
Where to place safety signs
· Beyond the wall: The wall space in your warehouse is an obvious place to hang signage. It’s necessary and appropriate to hang safety-related signs on the walls, but look beyond them if you want to make sure warnings are noticed. Safety reminders can be placed in common areas where employees come and go. They can be posted by equipment and supplies to serve as reminders before workers go into other areas of the warehouse.
· Point-of-use signage: Point-of-use signs are often seen in medical buildings, where red biohazard signs are posted on refuse receptacles and areas where needles and medical waste might be stored or discarded. You may use similar signs in your warehouse to warn workers of hazardous material stored in bins that require employees to don safety gear before entering the area or handling the material.
· Wherever it’s necessary: Not all safety signage is needed every day. Temporary situations, such as wet floors or the transferring of heavy equipment from one warehouse location to another, can warrant the posting of temporary signage to supplement other alerts given to employees.
In “Safety Training,” a third-season episode of “The Office,” Darryl holds a training seminar to instruct everyone, including office workers, on warehouse safety. Throughout the seminar, Michael disrupts the warehouse workers and attempts to belittle the importance of safety procedures and signs in the Dunder Mifflin warehouse. While Darryl has no problem countering Michael’s mischief by pointing out all the mishaps the office manager has caused, there’s no time or room for you to do the same in your workplace. Make safety signage and guidelines easy to follow and remember so you can save the mishaps for your favorite sitcoms.