Standardized Safety Signs Offer Lower Costs

By Thomas A. Westerkamp  
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: New Wayfinding Technology, Ordinance Changes Offer Challenges to ManagersPt. 2: Local Ordinances Regulate External SignagePt. 3: This Page

Industrial suppliers carry many conventional, standardized safety signs and offer them at a lower cost than it would take to make them. Among the issues safety signage target are: fall protection; personal protective equipment; hazardous chemicals; material safety data sheets; right-to-know laws; and electrical hazards signs. Safety signs also include fire-extinguisher tags, fire-protection-system tags, elevator-inspection certification signs, and reduced-pressure-zone certification tags.

OSHA Standard 1910.145 contains specifications for accident prevention signs and tags that cover, for example, vehicle warnings — caution, danger, and slow-moving vehicles. OSHA Standard 1910.147 regulates lockout/tagout activities and requires written, step-by-step procedures that follow standard guidelines and signage use.

Also, video surveillance cameras have become far more common in many facilities. This technology does not require warning signage, except where a person can reasonably expect privacy, such as a dressing room or restroom. Still, managers can choose from many standard signs that warn of the presence of video cameras to act as a deterrent.

In or Out?

Interior and exterior installations of signage generally follow a similar sequence, but each creates specific considerations.

The common installation sequence for electronic is as follows:

  • Select a high-traffic location for the kiosk or other display to mount the digital monitor.
  • Size the monitor for best viewing.
  • Connect the computer.
  • Choose the control software. If the installation involves one location or the same message at all locations, use standard presentation software. If the installation is customized at each kiosk, use specifically designed sign management software.
  • Install the software. When creating a presentation, use slides with short, easy-to-read messages.

The exterior placement of digital or other signage creates some special considerations for managers. Such installations are regulated by local codes, so managers need to check for placement restrictions before selecting sites. For example, if the site is visible to vehicle traffic, codes might restrict the use of animation for safety reasons, possibly allowing only one picture to toggle on and off.

The outside sign ordinance term sight distance triangle (SDT) offers guidelines for locating signs near traffic. An SDT establishes an area around all intersections and driveways that must be clear of signs or other sight obstructions. The sight distance specified depends on the type of intersection control and the speed limit on the major road or street.

Thomas A. Westerkamp is a maintenance and engineering management consultant and president of the work management division of Westerkamp Group LLC.

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  posted on 7/24/2013   Article Use Policy

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