The Importance of Proper Signage at Work

Many of the accidents that occur in the workplace could have been avoided if there had been enough signage. In order to normalize the situation, a Royal Decree was published a few years ago with the aim of setting the minimum in signaling matters. Specifically, it is Royal Decree 485/1997, of April 14, on minimum provisions regarding safety and health signs at work. These regulations can be consulted on the website of the National Institute of Safety and Hygiene at Work, through this link.

What do we understand by Signage at Work?

The first part of this regulation is dedicated to the definition of signaling. It is a term that covers quite a few topics, so we could show some safety maps guidelines:

  • Prohibition signs to indicate that we cannot do depends on what action if we do not want to suffer any mishap.
  • Warning signs that serve to indicate a possible danger or observation, such as that there is a change in level, that the stairs are worn, etc.
  • Rescue or distress signals: all those that show us what to do or where we have to go in an emergency would enter here. Signs to find the first aid kit or emergency exits are also included.
  • Light or acoustic signals: because not all signals are visual panels.

This would be some examples, although there are many more. It is the obligation of every employer to signal this type of thing very well to avoid accidents within the company. Basically it could be said that the objectives are:

  • Those workers are aware that there are some risks and that they must follow some warnings to the letter so as not to suffer any accident.
  • That a general notice can be given urgently if the situation requires it
  • Help workers to know where exactly the aid station or emergency exit is located, as well as the protocol to follow in case of need.
  • In the case of workers who have dangerous tasks (manipulations, maneuvers, etc.), signaling can help them avoid the maximum possible risks.

It’s Enough?

All this signaling would be of no use to us if later there is no training from the company. Therefore: NO, it is not enough. That there are warnings is necessary, but so will be the information that they can give us about the measures to take in case of accident or emergency, training to use certain tools or products, etc. Many of the signs that are found are not clear if it is not previously explained what each symbol means.

We must remember at all times that for a sign to be useful it will have to take into account some things such as the fact that it is well located (it would be useless to have it behind a door that is always open), that it is easy to understand , that does not lead to confusion and that it is valid by itself without having language problems, that is, that they are clear symbols and not warnings written only in the language of the country, since if someone is a foreigner they would not be able to understand it.