As the New Year comes upon us our thoughts often turn to personal improvements we intend to make over the coming year, but one much over looked resolution is the implementation of a regular safety sign audit.
Julian Rowlandson, Director at Stocksigns explains: “If you own a car it is most probable that you obtain and MOT and carry out a routine service to keep your vehicle fully functional and compliant. But few companies, despite their legal obligations to do so, regularly revisit their fire and other mandatory signage. How often does one hear of tragedy caused by fire exit routes not being clear and available for use? Often these oversights maybe associated with changes within business operations and a failure to update fire escape signs and safe routes of escape to embrace these operational changes.”
Failing to update your signage as your business changes, could lead to extensive fines or have more serious consequences including prison sentences, personal injuries or even loss of life. These simple inexpensive precautions could help protect your business, staff and visitors.
Taking Stock of your Safety Signs
Take time to walk around your premises, it may take a couple of trips round if you have a large or complicated building layout.
Note all your existing fire and safety signs. Do you have all the necessary signs covered by legislation? Through the course of the year things happen to your building, were signs replaced after that wall got repainted? Were your signs covered up when you had the last office move round? This photograph illustrates a common example. The fire alarm call points in this hotel were relocated during a refit. Unfortunately the sign has not been updated and the fire action notice now marks just a redundant blanking plate. On the flip side, you guessed it, the alarm call points were relocated but they have failed to install the correct fire equipment signage to mark its new location. Many people find that their fire signage is often in the wrong place, check your emergency escape signage is being displayed properly. If you are not sure whether you are completely covered legally get a site survey from a reputable sign company to give you peace of mind.
While it isn’t yet a requirement to change all your existing safety signs to the new ISO 7010 versions, the advice is not to mix signage from different legislative standards. Best practice recommends, if changes or additions are needed, updating to the most recent standard. This photo shows a BS 5499 fire exit sign directly mounted next to a sign with
symbols from the EEC directive 92/58, which could lead to confusion.
Care of your safety Signs
Safety signs over time can become dirty or damaged and several environmental factors can affect your signs. Signs in areas of high traffic can become dirty quickly. Make sure all signs are clean and clear and can be easily read, and cleaned where needed. Replace where necessary any signs if they are illegible and beyond cleaning.
Taking time to review your premises, business practices and people flow through the building and ensuring you have the correct signage for any risks identified should form a critical and regular part of your company’s safety procedures. Routinely carrying out an audit every six months should be sufficient for most companies, with additional assessments whenever any refurbishment or reorganisation work is carried out.