Top 10 signage areas to consider for the Disability Discrimination Act

Safety signs and Disability Discrimination Act

On October 1st 2004 the final stage of the goods, facilities and services provisions part 3 of the Disability Discrimination Act came into force. Although the legislation has been in place for some time our need to meet the guidelines is still firmly in place. This article is a reminder of what we need to consider in terms of signs and our obligations to the DDA.

The aim of this legislation is to achieve equality between the disabled and able-bodied; it introduces a basic duty not to treat disabled people less favourably than others. The new basic duty or obligations apply to anyone providing a paid or unpaid service to the public. As a “service provider” you must ensure that access is available to all disabled people and that entry routes, facilities and all information are clearly defined and indicated by suitable signage. The regulations concern access, mobility and site signage, they apply to all service providers, ranging from large corporations to small businesses (not the owners of the premises).

Under recent changes to part 2 of the Act, all employers must now ensure that they do not discriminate against disabled people in terms of recruitment and employment conditions. Compliance with the DDA can be achieved effectively by most businesses within a modest budget; however, planning is essential to ensure that the disabled user is not at a disadvantage. The new provisions are a further important step towards ensuring that disabled people have access to services that others take for granted.

10 Sign areas to consider with the Disability Discrimination Act

You are required to make reasonable adjustments to your premises; the areas to be considered are the signing and marking of:

  1. designating disabled car parking bays
  2. setting down points
  3. routes to and around buildings
  4. building entrances and exits
  5. directions to facilities i.e. lifts, stairs, reception, toilets, restaurants etc.
  6. information on additional services available to the disabled
  7. clear indication of help points
  8. emergency exit routes
  9. emergency disabled refuge points
  10. the enhancement of general information signage

For additional advice on signage and the DDA we would recommend carrying out a site survey for your premises.

ISO 7010 – An Overview

Over the next few months we will see the adoption of a new standard for safety signs as ISO 7010 is soon to become Pr EN 7010. The change will see safety signs in the workplace move away from being an “International standard” (essentially a recommendation on best practice), to a European norm (meaning the contents of the standard must be written into UK and EU law). ISO 7010 has been developed to provide consistency in design across the EU. We will be phasing in the new designs throughout 2011 and you may notice some design changes to the symbols whereas others will look virtually unchanged. Whilst the new symbols will be replacing the old designs, both designs will still meet your safety obligations.

ISO 7010 – An Overview.

In the late seventies, as the European Community was coming into being, it was recognised that with a large migratory workforce within the EU countries, there would be a real problem communicating health and safety issues.

It was decided to create an international standard based on pictograms. This lead to the publishing, in 1984, of the first health and safety standard; ISO 3864-Safety Colours and Safety Signs, which is still current today and is the basis for both ISO 7010 and BS 5499.

Because ISO 3864 was not grounded in law, it did not become established across the EU. So, in 1992, a European Directive based on ISO 3864 was passed, which made it a legal requirement for member states to write the requirements into their countries health and safety legislation, this was EC Directive 92/58/EEC.
In the UK this took the form of the “Health & Safety (Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996.

The Directive was a bit vague regarding the symbols to be used and soon a variety of different symbols had developed across Europe, the “Euro” fire exit symbol being a good example.

The situation regarding these symbols now needed to be rectified.

Here in Britain, this lead to the revision of the previous standard and in 2002, BS5499:2002 Graphical Symbols and Signs, was issued.

The need for correct pictograms across Europe was now evident and so the International Standards Organisation were compelled to update their own standards and so, using BS 5499 as a basis, they split ISO 3864 into two parts:

ISO 3864:2002 – covering shape and colours, as before.
ISO 7010:2003 – covering pictograms.

As previously seen in the Eighties, for these changes to have any impact, it would be necessary to write this standard into law, which is the process we are in the middle of now.

Making ISO 7010 into an EN, means that the status of the standard will change from being a recommendation of best practice, to a European Norm, requiring that the contents of the Standard are written, without change, into all EU countries laws.

This means that there will be a legal requirement for the same sign to be used in every country for the same requirement.
It will mean that a fire exit sign in England will be the same as it would be in France, Spain, Germany or anywhere at all within the EU.

ISO 7010 – A Brief History – milestone timeline

Late seventies – large migratory workforce in the EEC
1978 – BS 5499 – Fire Safety Signs, Notices and Graphic Symbols
1992 – EC Directive 92/58/EEC
1996 – “The Health & Safety (Signs and Signals) Regulations
2002 – BS 5499:2002 – Graphical Symbols and Signs
2003 – ISO 3864:2002 and ISO 7010:2003

our new 2011 catalogue is has been completely updated to include the NEW ISO 7010 safety symbols

Safety Signs – How to clean your safety signs

Safety signs are placed around shops and businesses, typically warning staff, customers and passersby that there is a hazard or safety issue. The safety signs over time can become dull and dirty from various elements that accumulate on them, this can obscure the valuable workplace safety message but also can make your premises look unkempt. These signs are often made of a hard rigid plastic, vinyl or aluminium, allowing you to easily clean your safety signs with inexpensive ingredients. For added protection and increased longevity email our sales team about having your safety signs made with “POF” protective overlay film.

Things You’ll Need to clean your safety signs:

  • Bucket
    Water
    Mild soap
    Vinegar
    Cleaning rag
    Nylon brush

Instructions for Cleaning your safety signs

1. Fill a bucket with about 2 litres warm water and 2 tbsp. of a mild detergent such as washing up liquid or laundry detergent. For a disinfectant quality, add an optional 1/2 cup of white vinegar.

2. Dip a soft cleaning rag into the cleaner and wipe it over your safety signs.

3. Very gently swish a nylon scrub brush into the cleaner if needed when heavier residue is present, again wiping over the sign until all grime is removed.

4. Wipe down the sign again with a clean, damp rag and allow to air dry.

Safety Signs as Safety Communication Tools

Safety signs and symbols are important safety communicating tools, they help to indicate various hazards that present in plant site or workplace. At the same time, they warn workers to always keep watching out for those hazards by giving required information and safety instructions.

Safety signs and symbols do not only inform the presence of hazards, but also help create workers’ safety awareness. It is very important in reducing accidents in the workplace more obviously in maufacturing, heavy industry and on construction sites but also important in office based environments too.

To get the most out of health and safety signs and symbols, you should choose the right ones for each work location on your premises. Each work area needs different workplace health and safety signs and symbols. This is because each work area has different types of hazards. A risk assesment of each activity or designated area will help identify hazards. Appropriate actions for ensuring safety can then be drawn up and selecting the appropriate safety signs can then be selected. Where possible safety signs shown be changed (at least their location) to keep the safety message fresh and to avoid “sign blindness”.

Safety Signs and Symbols Standards

Safety signs and symbols consist of messages, words and pictorial symbol with variety of sizes, shapes and colours. All the shapes and colours are standardised. Each shape has different meaning and each colour reflects specific meaning.

Using standardised health and safety signs and symbols will make them understandable and overcome language barriers and the new ISO 7010 standard is the first step towards a global harmonization of safety symbols. More indepth infomation can be found at Safety Signs, Symbols and Colour Codes – a simple guide

Safety Signs – Shapes

The shapes of workplace health and safety signs are triangles, circles and squares or rectangles.

i. Triangles: indicates caution (potential hazards) or warning (definite hazards), for example toxic gas and electric shock.

ii. Circles: mandatory or recommended actions and are normally used to depict an action you must do, for example wearing eye goggles and safety hard hats.

iii. Squares or rectangles: shows information, i.e. general information and emergency information (first aid, fire fighting).

iv. A Circle with a 45° diagonal slash across the middle from the upper left to the lower right: points out forbidden or prohibited actions.

Safety Signs – Colours

The colours used in workplace safety signs and symbols are red, yellow, blue and green.

i. Red signs: designates areas for emergency devices like fire fighting equipment, or to emphasise unsafe or forbidden actions.

ii. Yellow: notifies workers to take caution and be alerted of hazards, reducing necessary risks.

iii. Blue: shows a particular action or behavior, for example instruction to wear personal protective equipment.

iv. Green: designates the location of emergency measures or equipment like first aid kits, evacuation routes, fire exits, escape ladders, or fire assembly points.

Safety Signs – Pocket Guides

Simple pocket guide with at a glance guide to the different colours and symbols used in safety signs make excellent reference material for workplace safety training and can be issued as part of new employee induction training.